SP Snow White – Part 1: Design

Never, in all my years of sewing, would I have ever dreamed about doing anything Steampunk related. Why? Well the culture for steampunk is quite unique. You get one thing wrong you may as well say bye bye to your cosplay career. Okay, so it isn’t all that harsh, but it is very specific to certain things and I really wanted to get it right. However, thinking that way made me stress out a lot and at times I didn’t even to work on it. I would stare at my designs and think ‘What am I getting myself into!’. My dear husband who is my supporter, my engineer, and the one who thinks I can do anything, told me I should just go for it and not worry about what others may think. So that’s what I did.

Before any good cosplay there comes a design. Whether it be from an already known character or one that is made up entirely by the cosplayer themselves. We call these originals, which is what Steampunk Snow White is. She is an original. She has her own story line, she has a unique to herself costume, and best of all… it’s the only one that looks like this in existence.

I started out by going through different pattern designs for steampunk. Simplicity Patterns has some of the best so I picked a few of them.

The first two patterns didn’t really fit with what I was going for, but I kept them for future uses (I have plans for more Disney style steampunk).  The other two I looked at more and tried to decide which one would best fit my character. This included drawing out and recoloring to come up with what I wanted.

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The first design was a basic recoloring of the third pattern. This was simple and easy to do and the color scheme was quite nice… but the more I looked at it, the more I felt something was missing. Now, I started this design process in October of last year. It didn’t stare at it every day or spend every waking moment trying to figure it all out. No. I took my time, cause I knew that Rose City Comic Con was another year away.

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 My next step was trying to figure out what was missing. I then decided I would go with out the short jacket, create a cape with collar, add short puffy sleeves, and give it a bit more of a steam punk flair. Note.. this drawing was not as good as my first cause I was rough sketching it while doing something else. 🙂  I showed this to my husband and he liked it… but thought it just wasn’t quite there yet. I agreed. 16708473_1431515353538940_7812896027988799963_nSO I thought… why don’t I mix a couple patterns. I liked the skirt from the first design so I wanted to stick with that.. but I did want something more cape like.

I was FINALLY getting closer!  I loved the jacket in the fourth pattern cause it was longer, like a cape, but still had steampunk flair… and it covered my arms! That was a huge plus. The corset is from the fourth pattern as well but the bottom would have to be changed to a point rather than the upside down V the pattern was.  I almost called this my final design but something was still off. I wasn’t sure if it was the coloring or the design on the skirt or the corset that was wrong, it just wasn’t perfect yet. By this time it was around May and I needed to start sewing and getting to making it as I only had a few more months left before RCCC 2017. So back to the drawing board I went. 16711868_1431515370205605_8912810837188683293_nMy husband was a huge help as he gave me ideas to help me think of other ways I could do this. One thing I did know is that the ruffle front, below the corset, would probably be the one fabric item I would want to throw out.. so that’s when I came up with this!

Although this design says “final” on it… it really wasn’t. However, it was a heck of a lot closer then all the rest. That’s when I started sewing and getting the big part of the costume done. Now i still wasn’t finished. There was a lot of steampunk details that I needed to add. The hat was one of the first things I created… but trying to do the veil was a pain in my butt. I decided not to do the veil which made it possible for me to add other little details to the hat. 20170608_085829Once I was finished sewing the corset, skirt, jacket, and collar piece I needed to work more on the detail. By this time it was around June… my kids would be visiting for the summer and we were about to go on vacation for a week in Kansas. I wanted to get the majority of all the detail work done before they arrived.

This was only a few details but it was finally coming to fruition. I had a bigger and better idea of what I was going to do, to really make this character come to life. The details were as follows:

Necklace with anatomic heart design
Leather belt with Pulley attachment to lift up skirt
Spyglass
Potion bottles
Chains
Nautical compass on Leather Wrist band
Leather wrist brace with clock on it
Gun
Leather holster for gun
Map

The more and more I added, the more excited I was getting about the finished product. I did not get it done before the kids arrived, like I wanted to, but I did finish it while they were here. There were some details that got changed, for example; Leather belt with Pulley Attachment to lift up skirt. We tried very hard to create a pulley system and nothing was working, so I opted for a leather strap that is on the inside of the skirt that comes out and up to the belt. You will see pictures of that later.

No matter what project you are working on Design is always an important step. Your finished product my not look at all like your first idea, but you have to start somewhere!

Don’t forget to follow the blog to stay updated with the next post SP Snow White-Part 2: Sewing Construction. Also be sure to like my Facebook page Angell Cosplay and follow on Twitter and Instagram for more updates!

 

To Cos-play or Not to Cos-play…

Last year, sometime in the summer I believe, I attended my first ever Comic-Con in Boston, Massachusetts. I wasn’t really set on Cos-playing at the time, but I was sure that I wanted to dress up. I decided, since I had beautiful long brown hair at the time, to cos-play Vala Malderan from Stargate SG-1 (the last three seasons). I already had the SG1 black combat uniform because I was Samantha Carter for Halloween a couple years before that.The only thing I really needed to do was straighten my hair and place it in pig tails.

Vala Malderan Cosplay - Boston Comic-Con 2014
Vala Malderan Cosplay – Boston Comic-Con 2014

Who knew that this would start me on a long journey of Cos-playing that has a never ending future. From that time on I have been contemplating many different characters to cos-play. Recently I have gotten involved in a Lord Of the Rings Costuming group on Facebook, which I met at Emerald City Comic-con this past February. After my SG-1 Cosplay I wanted to step up the game and make my own.

Sewing is not new to me. I have made many costumes/outfits in my time but cos-playing is a bit different. It’s a lot more about accuracy and characterization than it is about just making a costume.  I had picked up a pattern for the Evil Queen from Once Upon A Time, and knew in an instant that was my next adventure. I started by searching many fabric types that could possibly work and be accurate. I also needed to keep it in my price range, which made picking out fabric quite a challenge. However, thanks to the wonderful 50% off coupons I get from Joann Fabrics, I was able to find a brocade fabric that would work perfect. It was still a bit on the expensive side since I needed almost 9 yards of fabric, but thanks to my mom and dad for a generous birthday gift, I was able to splurge a bit.

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Evil Queen from Once Upon A Time Cos-play Rose City Comic-Con September 20th 2014

Tuesday, September 9th, I started to make the Evil Queen Cos-play. I was planning on wearing it on Halloween  since I wasn’t sure when the next  comic-con was that I could attend. That day I got a call from my mom saying that my dad had passed away from a heartache. This news came as a complete shock and in order to keep my mind off of it, I continued to work on the cos-play. It took me two days to finish it, just before I would fly out for my dads funeral and memorial service. The day of my fathers Memorial was the Rose City Comic-con in Portland. Well, since my dad had given me the money to purchase the fabric for this cos-play, I figured, what better way to remember my dad then showing up in my cos-play at comic-con. As I walked around and people stopped to get pictures of me, I was constantly reminded of my dad and how he would be saying, jokingly, “You ain’t got no talent”. It was a phrase I heard quite often from him when I finished a new project or decorated another cake. He said it to remind me how much talent I do have, and I can’t thank him enough for that.

After this I was so excited for the next comic-con and all the things I could possibly do. However, the next comic-con I went to, I didn’t cos-play at. Instead I went, supporting my F-Cancer shirt from Stephen Amell, and got to meet him as well. It was a huge moment and I do not regret not cos-playing for that.

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Tauriel from The Hobbit Cos-play Photo by: Jenelle and Jan Newton

The next plan was to invade Emerald City Comic-Con with my two cousins. My cousin Jenelle Cos-played Batgirl and I cos-played Tauriel from the Hobbit. This cos-play took the longest to make and had much more fabrication involved. My brother-in-law helped make the leather waist guard and arm bracers after I created the design to be imprinted on it and i made my own bow and arrows out of pvc pipe, craft foam, clay, and other materials. The finished work was amazing and it was the first time I ever had to wear a wig.

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Tauriel, Thandruil, and Bilbo Emerald City Comic-Con 2015

At Emerald City I made a couple friends who cos-played as Bilbo Baggins and Thandruil. Their cos-plays were amazing. I was basically in awe of how much work they put into it. I also knew that I needed to step up my game a bit. They were the ones that told me about the Lord of The Rings Costuming group, which I am now involved in and enjoying the many updates of the cos-plays that people are working on.

I liked my Tauriel so much that I decided I wanted to make another Lord of the Rings character, so I chose Galadriel.

20150505_224852I have not worn this cos-play at any convention, yet, however I have plans to wear it to the next Emerald City Comic-con. For now, I am finished with it and will be doing a photo shoot with my cousin sometime in the near future.

My future cos-play endeavors include: Tinkerbell, WWII Peggy Carter and Captain America (with the help of my dear husband), Storm from X-Men, The Winter Sisters (Frozen), Disney Snow White and the Once Upon a Time Snow White, and Cinderlla.

I am so blessed to be a part of such an amazing art form. I’ve met many wonderful people along with seeing some amazing cos-plays that I can’t even begin to imagine how to do it. I’m still new to all of this, but its a growing fascination and I’m getting more involved in understanding what it is to be a cos-player. May I never loose sight of what it really means!