Saturday, November 26, 2016

Doctor Strange Cosplay - Boots and Belts

Happy belated Thanksgiving, friends!!

I hope you all (minus you poor international peeps who don't have a Thanksgiving -- I'm sure you're still very thankful ;)) had a wonderful time with family, ate lots of good food, and gave thanks to God for it all.

My Thanksgiving was absolutely wonderful, as well as the week-long break that surrounded it.  I've just got two more days of break before heading back to the grindstone for three weeks, hopefully to finish the semester off strong.  But before we think about finals and all that nonsense, let's talk about some leather accessories in this second-to-last post about my Doctor Strange costume. :D

In the wise words of many a cliche movie: let's do this!

First, the boots -- a vital part of any superhero's crime-fighting get-up.

(seriously if you know of any superhero that doesn't wear boots you're probably wrong)
(WAIT Quicksilver wore running shoes)
(okay point overthrown)
(but he's dead SO IT STILL STANDS)
(dear quicksilver rest in peace but you shoulda worn boots k hun)

Sorry, little rabbit trail there but it illustrates the importance of boots for superheroes.  You die without them.  WHICH IS WHY I got an extra cute pair for my fem Doctor Strange:

As I did with my fem Captain America costume, I went with heels to further accentuate the feminine look I was going for.  Plus make me almost 6 foot like Benedict (bahahah i'm not even kidding these heels are 4").

I looked around a ton online to find exactly what I was looking for, for under $30 (because budget), but everything I liked was just too expensive.  So, after a while, I figured I'd just go with some black suede heeled boots I already had... which would have looked nice, but not nearly as nice as these.

SO a few weeks before the movie, I stumbled upon a listing of this pair -- on sale for $20!!  Now, I had already seen them a thousand times, never less for $40, on various marketplaces online, and it was just chance that I happened to do some more research the very day they went on sale.  So, I mean, it sounds stupid?  But I think it was a God thing.  He cares about what we care about, and don't you forget it. ^_^

As far as looks, these are exactly what I was looking for.  Comfort?  Mmmmm not so much, but after a few days of wearing them, I broke them in/got used to the height of, like I said, four inches (I usually top out at 3.5).  BUT TWENTY BUCKS.  So I'm very pleased. ;)

Now, for the other item of business for today: the many belts of Doctor Strange!

The materials for these I bought from various places.  The main attraction, the braided double belts with the tassel down the front, I got from Amazon as two 55" belts, which I then altered with cuts and velcro to create the final shape.

To round out the collection (there's a total of 3 belts in all, I think), I also got a simple dark brown braided belt from Amazon to alter (seriously belts are too expensive in real stores), and a 1/2 yard of some black faux leather from Joann to create the background belt.

For both the braided belts, I utilized the belt loops from the original belt constructions to hide the seams where they would attach with some velcro.  Plus, this emulated just a little bit the metal-embellished look of the real costume!

When I started unraveling the main braided belt to create the tassel, I ran into some problems.  For one thing, it literally took *for* *ev* *er* -- like, I woulda been unraveling that thing for two days straight.  PLUS, what I did unravel looked really limp, not at all like the lush tassel in the original costume!

SO, I headed back to Joann and bought some plain black yarn to unravel and use instead by attaching it to the main belt at the braided section (seen below).  It didn't take nearly as long to unravel the yarn, AND looked twice as pretty!  Yay for problem solving on both time and money budgets. ;D

For the "background" wide leather belt, I just did a rectangle type pattern, sewn into a tube and finished off on the sides.  This simplicity was entirely due to time constraints (I was also working on a pretty major essay due the day before the premiere... bahahahah priorities).  I'm considering going back now and taking my time to make it more detailed and screen accurate.  But, as it was, it served it's purpose and I don't think anyone cared except me. ;D

OH!  And one last thing that was just a detail, but really did make all the difference (to me, at least -- hah!!): I used some brown paint (don't laugh i'm very creative with my methods) to distress/age the belts from flat black into something much more dimensional.  Like I said, to me, it really made the belts look SO much more convincing, as well as better match the real costume!

(before on top, after on bottom)
And after all that (seriously, who knew this would be such an intense part of the costume???) here's the (almost -- minus the tape!) final look:

One more post to go in the saga of fem Doctor Strange -- see you then!! :D

Friday, November 11, 2016

Doctor Strange Cosplay - The Cloak of Levitation

Hullo once again, strangers from distant lands, friends of old!

Today is the day I begin to fill you in on the rest of the making of my fem / gender-bent Doctor Strange costume, as promised. :D  For starters, we're going to discuss the epic Cape of Levitation.

(Just gotta say, after seeing the movie, I love this cape so much more... ;D)

SO!  After some preliminary research, and buying and returning some fabric from Joann, I ended up buying 3 yards of a fabulous cotton twill from Etsy for the main part of the cape -- and for the few darker accents, I used the crepe side of some crepe back satin I had leftover from my very first cosplay, actually: Arwen!

I folded the fabric in half width-wise, and cut the hem into a half circle, as well as rounding out the neckline. Later on, I cut more of the length off the edge bottoms, to better emulate the real costume's asymmetry.

The next step was to create the "yoke" of sorts around the neck and shoulders.  I played around with draping for a while until I came up with something I liked (with the amount of fabric I had left).  I then cut out the pieces and sewed them down with the edges folded under.

Next, I worked on the shoulder "patch" for a while, getting the drape and color contrast right, then sewing the pieces together and to the cape.

feat. Arwen fabric! ^_^

Next I moved on to the collar, by far the most difficult part of the cape to make -- it took me a good 8 hours or more to get this thing right.  Yes, I know.  I'm crazy. ;D

First, I made a purple mock-up of the collar (perfect color right???), then moved on to the real fabric.

empty spool because i love completion
I added interfacing and straightened out paper clips wire to add some structure to it... but then realized that I really just was not happy with the shape of the collar, so I went back and made lots more alterations, adding an extra seam and a sort of godet in the back.

Once I was mostly happy with how that looked (I honestly could have spent another 8+ hours working on it but no time UGH), I secured the wire to it with some tack stitches, sewed the lining to the facing, and then sewed it all to the cape!

Now, we're almost done.  Next was hemming, and one last ironing (besides all the seam pressing done throughout the making of the cape which I didn't mention) to get all the wrinkles out...

And the final touches: you might have wondered how exactly I got the cloak to stay on my shoulders, seeing how it's not connected in the front?  Well, allow me to share my secret weapon: magnets!  In this picture I was just checking placement; I actually superglued the magnets to the back of the tunic so I could wear the costume without the cape if I wanted, without the magnets showing.  And then I superglued the magnets to the ends of the cape collar so they would secure together perfectly when worn. :)

The VERY last touch?  Some gold accents at the edges of the neckline...

And Doctor Strange's Cloak of Levitation is complete!!!

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Doctor Strange Cosplay - Sneak Peek

The past 3 weeks have been the busiest and craziest of my college career so far, I think.  Which is also why I've been MIA the past weeks, and haven't been able to update you lovely people on my Doctor Strange cosplay progress.

But, I am happy to say, that fem Doctor Strange was completed in time for opening night (and Halloween).  And it went over really well, I think!!  Here's a low quality sneak peek, a quick shot from the theater Thursday night:

(the belt is off-kilter sorryyyyy)
And my gender-bent Doctor Strange cosplay is completed (unless I decide to make a few upgrades later... eheheh)!!  It was such a crazy project to tackle, quite possibly my most complex to date.  And I learned SO much in the making of it -- from officially creating my first cape (with an absolutely preposterous collar), to utilizing magical separating zippers.

Also, it's undoubtedly my most high-quality cosplay to date, which is such an encouragement because YAY actual improvement in my skillz!! ;)  But, heh, also my most expensive, I think.  I used every dime of my $100 budget -- as well as putting in approx. 50 hours or more of work on it, I'd say.  Yes, I am crazy (mwahahaha), BUT I truly do love it. ^_^

And before I sign off... GUYS.  It's not over yet because I still want to show you how I made this costume!  So, in the coming weeks, I'm planning to write up a few posts on how I made/procured the rest of it.  And I also hope to do an actual photoshoot with the costume over Thanksgiving break (halleluJAH)... but, we shall see. :D

OH and I also want to write up a post with all my crazy absurd thoughts on the movie (did I mention I discussed it with friends for like 4 hours afterwards) -- but for now, just know that it is basically a fantastic mind trip with some objectionable content that I have a lot of thoughts on... ;)

SO how about you???  Have you seen Doctor Strange yet?  Do you plan to? :)

Friday, October 14, 2016

Doctor Strange Cosplay - Tunics and Arm Wraps

Bonjour, friends!  For those who have stuck around even durng my year-long absence: you shall not go unrewarded.  For here arrives the first of many, many, many posts to come in this new season of the Adventures of an Elven Princess, concerning my latest cosplay for the latest Marvel Studios film, Doctor Strange. :D

And with just a day under three weeks until the movie premiere, I think it's wayyy past high time to get you up to speed on all the progress that's been happening in the past few weeks.  So let's get right into it -- just like old times. ;)

SO.  The first item of the costume to create, was the over tunic.  You can hear all the specific deets on that in the post over on my other blog, the Time That is Given Me (which I wrote before I decided to resurrect Adventures for all my costume happenings).  The gist of it, is that I refashioned this suit of my grandmother's into the tunic (because budget and the fact that it was just too perf for it). :D

I'm super pleased with how it turned out, and was a pretty simple refashion to do.  Oh, and I've replaced that pin with a button since that picture was taken -- hah!

Now, moving onto new territory: the under tunic...

Now, my grandmother used to own a lot of pencil skirts.  In total, she gave my sisters and I at least ten -- half of which were black or navy.  Which worked out perfectly for me, because it meant I got to make not just one, but both of Strange's tunics for free, out of some high quality and super cool looking fabrics. #budgetcosplayforthewin ;)

Apparently I only got one progress pic of the undertunic, for some reason or other, so I'll explain the process a little bit just to give you a better idea of what went into making it.

I used two pencil skirts.  The first one, which I made the sleeves out of because they're really the only part of the undertunic that will be seen much, has this crazy cool weave to it that almost reminds me of a motherboard, like, in a computer?  Weird visual, I know, but that's totally what it reminds me of. ;)  The second pencil skirt was a pretty basic weave polyester, I think, (I believe the one for the sleeves might have been wool), but that suited my purposes just fine.

As for patterning for the undertunic, for the bodice I just used the overtunic as a bit of a guide and free handed from there.  For the sleeves, I used a basic sleeve pattern that I had on hand, and made a few adjustments from there.

Those triangles are gussets for the sleeves, but I ended up not needing them.
Here's the overtunic as it is right now (plus the hem).  I just need to sew the front panels, and buy a separating zipper for the back and it'll be done!

Next up, the armwraps.  First, let's all take a moment to appreciate the packaging of my trims that I got all the way from Taiwan:

Gotta love that thin line between cute and creepy... but mostly cute... right? ;D  Take a look at the trims while you're oogling the bunnies too though -- aren't they just lovely??  Okay, not gonna lie, the velvet is a departure from the original costume.  Benedict's is some sort of basic cotton webbing from what is now visible from all the super detailed pictures that released after I bought the trims...

Okay, well, have to be honest here, I just didn't look close enough at the earlier pictures and kidded myself into believing the armwraps were actually made of velvet.  Because I wanted them to be velvet.  Because velvet is pretty and adds a marvelous fantasy feel to everything it's used in.

So, my fem Doctor Strange is going to have velvet armwraps, whether the movie version does or not. ;) #takethatalexandrabyrne

The braided blue stuff was a great find, though, because it is, in fact, quite screen accurate.  It's not an exact replica (we won't go into all the details), but it's pretty close.

That's what they're looking like currently.  They're just pinned, because I still need to buy some separating zippers for them (YAY for ease of getting them on and off! ;D).  Hopefully I'll be able to go to Joann for those (as well as the zipper for the undertunic) tomorrow... we'll see.  I'm also considering weathering them some?  The blues feel a little too bright right now... we'll see how it looks with the whole costume put together, though.

Well friends, I believe this is where I leave you -- until the next post, of course. :D  There's still quite a bit to tell of my progress so far...  the cape, the boots, the Eye of Agamotto (his pendant/TIME INFINITY STONE yes it totally is), the belts... ah yes.  This is quite the multi-faceted costume. ;)

OH MAN.  I just remembered that I need to do something very important.  Buying my tickets for 7pm Thursday night of  November 3rd... k gotta go :D :D :D

Sunday, October 9, 2016

The Adventures Aren't Over Yet.

It's been over a year ago since I was last "An Elven Princess" -- and I didn't realize how much I missed that until just now, as I write this.  Yes, hello, hello it's me, Beth, back in action, bringing the ol' Adventures of an Elven Princess out of retirement and into a new season. :) :)  You see, I thought my costuming days were over when I started college (which was a huge part of this blog, as you know).  But, funny enough, that assessment could not have been more wrong...

Not only did I recreate Rey's costume for the Star Wars: The Force Awakens premiere, and I've got a fem Doctor Strange cosplay in the works for the premiere in November... costuming semi professionally has also become a thing!!  If you've been following my new blog, the Time That is Given Me, or my twitter, you'll know that I started working in my university's theater department's costume workshop, where we make all the costumes for the college plays.  This has been an absolutely incredible experience for me.  I've learned so much, worked with some absolutely lovely people, and made some money too which is always nice. ;D

A more recent development (just this semester, actually), is that I've had the opportunity to do costuming on some thesis films (one two weeks ago, and another one currently in development!!), thanks to my awesome screenwriting professor from last semester recommending me (that's you, Professor Wales! ;)).  The experience was crazy amazing, and made me realize just how much I absolutely adore costuming for film, and that I'm actually pretty good at it.??

So, really, this era of my life has just been an incredible time of learning more about myself and my strengths and skills and passions.  And with all these new developments, God's been helping me to realize that pursuing a career in costuming for movies is an actual possibility, just as something like screenwriting or producing.  And that sounds kinda insane, but also makes total sense.  I mean, duh, costuming is one of my favorite things ever -- why not explore the possibility of turning that into a career???

But... what does this all mean for this blog, the Adventures of An Elven Princess?  Well, as I said, I think it's time to resurrect my costuming dreams, and with that, the resurrection of this blog that documented all the events that formed the dream.  I'll discuss my personal cosplays, working on costumes in my job at the theater department, costuming for student films, and any other sewing projects that crop up in mah life (did I mention I'm in the beginning stages of designing for a fashion show???).

Oh, and do know that the Time That Is Given Me isn't going anywhere -- I'll be utilizing that platform for more personal posting, just stuff that's going on in my life that doesn't have much to do about costuming.

Now... who's ready for the further Adventures of an Elven Princess?  Because, I know I am. :)