Saturday, March 31, 2012

Up-Close and Personal with Rodolphus Lestrange

Okey-doke!  We continue our series of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows costumes with Rodolphus Lestrange.  For more info on Rodolphus, check out my post on The Lestranges from a few days ago.  Since the introduction has already been made to the character, I'm just going to get right into the breakdown.

My good friend Shawn agreed to go as my "husband" to add another level to Bellatrix and I made sure to recap the character beforehand and make sure he understood the role.  Like I needed to worry.  The pictures show it all, but he was the biggest pretentious bigot you've ever seen.  He held his nose up at everyone and refused to touch or talk to anyone who may be contaminated by Muggles.  It was awesome.


Rodolphus' costume was probably the most complicated of the outfits:

loose white shirt, ascot, vest and jacket (plus pants and shoes)

For the shirt, I used Butterick 5008:

I chose pattern A (top left) since it had the straight collar instead of the fold and no ruffles to deal with ignoring.  I lengthened the sleeve cuff to the elbow, but cut the sleeve the regular length so I would still get a nice poof.  The collar, shirt and sleeves were white linen and for the wrist cuff, I used the same black as Bellatrix's dress, with a black lining so it was nice and dark and kept the interfacing so it was nice and stiff.  Since I left off the ties (cuz they just weren't classy enough for Roddy), instead, I used these to secure the wrist cuffs:
I know, right?  I love them.  They sell them in Joann's Fabrics by the buttons and snaps.

For the vest, I used Simplicity 2346:

This was an incredibly easy pattern to follow, which is good because I had no idea how confusing it is to add lining to a vest ><.

I used pattern B (the orange one in the top right) and left off the pocket.  Aside from that, I just followed the pattern.  The lining is a silver satin (also used for the ascot) and the outer fabric is a textured medium grey.  In the photo, Rodolphus is wearing a dark grey/black vest, but I wanted something that would contrast a little better since we would be out at night.

I wish I could find pictures online of the buttons I used... I may have to take some and edit this post because the buttons I found for both his vest and jacket are just spectacular.  The vest buttons are small antiqued silver buttons with little flowers engraved on them.  I found them at Joann's and they were on like black cardboard packaging or something.  I could find out if anyone really wants to know.

The jacket was a lot of fun and a real challenge.  I used Burda 7523:

I used pattern A because it had no belt or extra fashion seams.  I left off the sleeves and the pockets, but followed the pattern from there.  For the jacket back, front and upper collar I chose a textured dark grey suiting fabric.  I did the lining and lower collar in the same black as the wrist cuffs on the shirt.

The purple sections were pretty much a free-for-all.  I cut out two long rectangles for the chest and four kindof sharp ovals the width of the arm openings for the shoulders of the dark purple I used for Bellatrix's corset.  I sewed the oval pieces together so I had two pieces that looked something like a straight seam that curved up in the shape of a curly bracket {|  <like that, where the straight line is the seam and the curly part is open and I attached interfacing to the part that would be the bottom to give it a little extra shape.

I sewed the rectangles onto the chest so they lined up with the points on the lower collar section, folding the edges over and using a slip-stitch so there were no unsightly seams.  When I attached the top edge, I folded over a piece of the black fabric to makeshift piping and sewed it under the purple section.

Once that was all secure, I laid the curved pieces so the seams lined up with the sleeve edge and slip-stitched them on so the point of the { lined up with the shoulder seam.

Again, the buttons I found were perfect.  They're rather large, but again antiqued silver and they have these intricate carvings that look like vines or something.  They're beautiful and I really think I'm gunna borrow a camera and add them to this post cuz they totally make the outfit.

The ascot was a guessing game.  I couldn't find a pattern, so I cut two curved pieces on the fold of my silver satin and four rectangle "paddles" (thin on one end, wide on the other) about a foot and a half long and six inches wide at the widest.  I sewed the two curved pieces together, leaving the ends open, and two each of the "paddles", leaving the skinny ends of both and the fat end of one open.  I sewed one "paddle" to each open end of the curved bit and then pulled the whole thing through the wide opening I had left so it was right side out and slip-stitched the opening closed.  This was wrapped around his neck and pinned with a beautiful broach I found at a thrift store.

At that point, we bought a pair of black dress pants (as close to Victorian high-waists as possible) and a pair of long-toed dress shoes to really lengthen him out.  I did his makeup to pale him up and sink his face to emphasize the suffering endured in Azkaban and gelled the heck out of his hair.

The final result was breath-taking:

in-progress of dressing - shirt unclasped, no ascot, no shoes
shoes added, shirt buttoned and holding wand
the final product - with ascot and broach

As a special treat, here's a nifty photo from behind the scenes that gives a nice look at Shawn hair and makeup:

On a side note, the wand you see Shawn holding in the above photos is actually a replica of Narcissa Malfoy's wand I purchased at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park at Universal Studios Orlando.  If you even remotely like Harry Potter and you find yourself in Orlando wondering what to do, you MUST go.  But go STRAIGHT to the Harry Potter section.  The lines fill up fast and if you take your time you'll spend the whole day waiting for your first ride.  And try the Butterbeer.  Oh.  My.  Gosh.  The Butterbeer.

Additionally, I am very sad that Andromeda was not in the films.  You'll see in the Bellatrix post that I also have a Bellatrix replica wand and had dreamed of owning all 3 sisters' wands and one day cosplaying all of them.  Now I shall never see that dream come to fruition... :( *sad Angi*

Anyway, enjoy!  Bellatrix coming soon!  And as always, feel free to comment or contact me with questions, comments, concerns or if you make your own and wanna show me!

CosPlay with me

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Up-Close and Personal with a Miserable House Elf

Ok.  So here's why I'm posting the house elf first:  he's easy.  Jon's house elf costume was by far the simplest outfit to make and he embodied the character spectacularly; never breaking character.

(side note: I give up.  I saw a blog after the movie about how a group of kids met our house elf and he had to ask permission to take a picture and they thought it was awesome, but I can't find it again.)

Sad as it may sound, Jon was actually the most popular in our group.  A few people approached to ask us who we were and then scurried off when I threw my pure-blood Wizard supremacist attitude at them, but EVERYONE wanted a picture with "Dobby". 

First note: It's sad to me that at a Harry Potter premiere, clearly dressed in costume and excited for the movie that people would think I seriously thought I was better than them. 

Second: Jon was not Dobby.  Not that I don't loves me some Dobby, but he was not Dobby.  Quite in fact, we didn't even give him a name.  We felt it better suited the characters of the Lestranges that they would care so little about their house elf that they would not even refer to him by name.  And we did not.  He was referred to as "House Elf" the entire night and he held my purse and cowered in our presence and it was glorious!

Now that that's cleared up:

So Jon's costume was quite simple.  House elves (aside from Dobby once he is freed) are described as wearing burlap sacks as tunics and fashion any other clothes out of what they find lying around.  So that's exactly what we did.

I purchased a strip of burlap that would be long and wide enough to go over Jon and I sewed the sides, leaving openings for arms.

For his "shoes", I used scraps of fabric from Rodolphus and Bellatrix (pretty sneaky, right?) being that a real house elf would've fashioned his own "shoes" from scraps found around the house.

We found a nice rope that we agreed seemed like something the Lestranges might have lying around their home and wrapped it around his waist and attached elf ears (as well as added a little paler, greenish tint to his skin).  The final product was incredible, especially with Jon's incredible acting in the part:

Thanks to the amazing Alex Rothauser for magically making Jon look like a tiny little house elf.

Stay tuned for Bellatrix and Rodolphus!

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The Lestranges

Celebrate, for I have at last been able to download the Lestrange photos and will be posting them momentarily.  But first, a short history on the characters and costume choice.

From her first introduction in the books, I was captivated by Bellatrix.  The image stirred in my mind was that of a beautiful, wealthy socialite torn down by years of torture awaiting the return of her master and she is described as such:

"Bellatrix was described as a tall woman with long, thick, shining dark hair. She had thin lips, dark hair long eyelashes, heavy-lidded eyes, and a strong jaw. She had the classic 'great good looks' and arrogant bearing common for members of the House of Black, but like her cousin Sirius, time in Azkaban took a toll on her appearance. After her lengthy imprisonment, she was described as having a gaunt and skull-like face, but managed to retain some vestige of her great beauty."

Now, I am a firm supporter of Helena Bonham Carter's depiction of Bellatrix in the films, but I do count "Book Bellatrix" and "Movie Bellatrix" as two completely separate entities.  Movie Bellatrix is very much insane and impulsive, whereas I always felt that Book Bellatrix was much more calculated and aware of her actions, which I believe created a completely terrifying and evil villain.

While the depiction in the films was an interesting take and definitely mirrored Bellatrix's fracture psyche, I always felt that Bellatrix would have gone straight back to attempting to regain her former glory, dressing and acting as she would have when her family was a prominent member of Wizarding high society.  Apparently, DeviantArtist Makani felt the same way, because her depiction of Bellatrix and the rest of the Black family perfectly represents the way I had always pictured Bellatrix when I was reading the books.

A note on Rodolphus:

Not many are familiar with Rodolphus Lestrange, but I assure you he is an important member of the Harry Potter story.  Rodolphus is responsible for the torture of the Longbottoms (along with wife Bellatrix and brother Rabastan) and he is one of Voldemort's most dedicated disciples.  Unlike Bellatrix's sister (Andromeda and Narcissa), Bellatrix and Rodolphus' marriage was not from love, but rather an understanding that joining two pure-blood families was expected of Wizards in their position.

Bellatrix's first love was always Voldemort, but the two remained dedicated to each other and fought side by side in both Wizarding Wars.  Both refused to accept the Dark Lord's defeat at the end of the first war, leading to attacks on Aurors and Order of the Phoenix members Alice and Frank Longbottom, leaving the couple insane and the Lestranges in Azkaban where they patiently awaited the return of their master.

While I don't have a film representation to compare to, I had always pictured Rodolphus as an attractive man with a highly pure-blood supremacist attitude.  I couldn't see a woman like Bellatrix agreeing to marry any other kind of man; even if she didn't love him, she would expect him to have the same attitude she did.  As such, I would also expect him to go straight back to living like the high society, perfect Wizard he saw himself as.

My costumes are based entirely on Makani's depictions of the characters, the makeup represents the sunken appearance they would possess after their many years in Azkaban, and our attitudes towards the other filmgoers (and our house elf) kept consistent with the characters' supremacist attitudes.

I will post detailed breakdowns of each costume in a bit, but until then, I want to give you a teaser of the images I based the costumes on and an image that my amazing photographer friend Alex took that perfectly catches the attitude and look that I was going for.  I could not have been happier with the way the whole thing came together and I owe special thanks to Alex for the amazing photos, Jon for putting up with the degrading treatment the whole night and my good friend Shawn for dressing up in Victorian fashion and posing with me for these portraits.  You guys are amazing.


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Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Ok.  So I know I promised Bellatrix last week as well as a video blog.  Well, I got hella sick and didn't have the energy for the vlog and it turns out I never got the image files from my photographer friend, so I couldn't post Bellatrix no matter how bad I wanted to.

HOWEVER.  I am feeling much better and will finally be making my first video blog within the week.  Yuna is still going up this week AND I have just received (kindof - the download's not working) the photos of Bellatrix and Rodolphus Lestrange from the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows pt 2 midnight premiere at Universal Hollywood CityWalk!  Yay!

So assuming I can get the download working, Bellatrix will be up today.  If not, she will be up tomorrow.  Yuna will go up probably Friday or Saturday to give y'all plenty of time to enjoy Bellatrix.  I believe I am scheduled to shoot my video blog on Thursday, but I have some kinks to iron out, so that will probably not go live until the weekend.

I will keep you posted as things progress and you can always follow me on Twitter @AngiViper for up-to-date info on my sites and costumes.

Lots of love!  :)

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Monday, March 19, 2012

I just had to share

So as I was perusing my friends over at Random Encounters' Tumblr and listening to their entertaining little interview with Video Gamerz Network, I came across this absolutely nauseatingly adorable photo of me from our green screen shoot for "The Best We Can Be: A Princess Peach Musical" and just had to share.

Enjoy :D

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Coming this week...

I realize I've been awfully slow in getting this blog up and running and for that, I apologize.  But that's all about the change!  With the premiere of my first cosplay post (Peach), I am starting on a journey through time where I will be posting a backlog of old costumes all leading up to the release of my first, official, CURRENT comic book-based cosplay next month.

This week, you can expect to find a post featuring my Bellatrix Lestrange costume worn to the last Harry Potter movie and inspired by the incredible artwork of Makani, a Harry Potter fanartist on DeviantArt (and fellow Texan!).  If you're lucky, you may also catch a peak of the Rodolphus and house elf costumes I made to go with it.

You can also expect to see my first video blog go up on YouTube... as soon as I decide what to wear >< (such a girl!)

In the meantime, enjoy Peach and fire away any questions about me, my costumes, my life, the weather, movies, books, the theory of the Universe... you know.  Anything.  :)

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Friday, March 16, 2012

Up-Close and Personal with Princess Toadstool

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to my first Cosplay post!  Below, I will feature photos of the Princess Toadstool cosplay made for Random Encounters' upcoming "The Best We Can Be: A Princess Peach Musical" musical spoof video as well as detail shots with breakdowns of how I made everything.  Hopefully, other cosplayers out there will find these posts useful.

Feel free to ask me anything.  I'm here for you just as much as I'm here for me :)

First and foremost, I did a lot of research on variations of Peach's dress before I got started.  I wanted something a little more interesting in real life than the traditional dress:

But the guys wanted something that stayed closer to her traditional look than her Brawl dress:

And so, we landed on this:

Now, alas, in my endless searching, I still do not for the life of me know the source game of this image. But regardless, we loved this one and so off I went on my merry way...

You'll notice between the source image and my photos that they are missing the gold detailing along the skirt border and around the chest gem.  I unfortunately ran out of time, so they are missing, though if I could, I would go back and put them in (you know, if the dress hadn't been destroyed in the process of shooting ><)

I started with 2 patterns for the dress, which I combined.  The top (chest and neck) are Butterick B4929:

And the rest (skirt, sleeves and mid) is Simplicity 2813:

I sewed the pieces from B4929 so that the closure was in the back instead of the front and attached Wrights piping in Berry Sorbet along the center front seam.  For the collar, I cut the same collar as the pattern and trimmed it so the edge that would be outside had curves.  I sewed the same piping along that edge, turned it inside out and proceeded with the instructions.

For the sleeves, I used the pattern from 2813 and simply attached them to the top from B4929.  I  elongated the middle of 2813 and attached it below the bust of the top.  I cut 2 pieces of the skirt, one in the light pink fabric, the other in the dark orange/pink.  In retrospect, I wish I had kept the 2 layers, thus making what I did next more sturdy, but you have to make mistakes to learn from them.

I laid the 2 skirts so the orange was underneath and trimmed the pink so I had an arch going up in the front to about my knees and down in the back with about 6 inches to spare.  I then pinned 1/4" Wrights Double Fold Bias Tape in Berry along the edge I just cut, layering the lace I had selected and orange fabric underneath the line, respectively.  I sewed the Bias Tape on as usual, making sure it went through every layer (pink fabric, lace and orange fabric), attached the skirt, added a zipper and closed the seams.

(I did not have time or funds for lining, unfortunately, so the dress is pretty see-through, but it served it's purpose.)

That was actually the easy part.

Next I had to figure out how to make the crown:

And the chest gem:

The crown turned out to be pretty easy.  I had a small sailor hat from this costume I bought myself after Halloween:

So I took the hat, folded it, traced the shape on the fold of my gold fabric, added spikes for the crown shape and a 1/2" leniency for seam and cut!  2 pieces (for lining).  I sewed together the spikey end and traced out stiff, hatting interfacing.  I placed the interfacing inside and ironed it to the inside of the hat.  I slipstitched by hand the closure that would go on my head and attached (by hand) 2 small strips of scrap fabric that I curled into a loop on either side of the crown.  These were used to push hairpins through and keep the crown from falling off my head while dancing around set.  The red jewels are Jewelry Essentials Jewels from Michael's that I Super Glued in place.

I did a LOT of troubleshooting for the chest gem.  What I finally wound up with that looked super awesome was, I cut a medium sized styrofoam egg in half, taking the smoothest side I could manage.  I then CAREFULLY covered it with clay.  All I had was that airy, never dries out stuff.  For the future, I would probably use air-dry clay because you CANNOT put the styrofoam in the oven or it will shrivel up and ruin everything.  I dried the clay as best I could with a hairdryer and when it felt decently dry/baked, I painted with thickly with FolkArt #656 Metallic Blue Sapphire paint.  I did probably about 3 or 4 coats of this.  I wanted it to be super shiny and really rich-looking.  

Unfortunately, since the clay couldn't fully dry, the paint didn't either.  This turned into a blessing in disguise.  The way I saved it was to take a piece of plastic wrap (like you use in the kitchen to cover leftovers) and I wrapped it tightly around the "gem", pushing gently to even out as many wrinkles as possible and then glued it in place on the back.

To attach the gem to the dress, I cut a piece of scrap linen the size of the gem and sewed it to the inside of the dress where I wanted the gem to be placed.  This gave me an extra layer of protection from the glue bleeding onto my dress form or scratching me up while acting.  I placed a line of Super Glue around the gem and lined it up with the linen.  I put drops of glue in any spots that were sticking out to make sure the gem lined up well with the dress and stepped back.

The gloves I had from my Anastasia cosplay a few years back.  The ring and earrings where round jewelry bases with teal gems secured on (all found at Michael's).  The wig was purchased an eternity ago for a Sara Mudo (Angel Sanctuary) cosplay I made for I-CON back on Long Island off of eBay.  And I used a petticoat from the Halloween store to poof the skirt out (next time I'll make a petticoat that goes all the way down and fits ><).

In the end, the final product came out better than I'd expected:



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No turning back now...

Alrighty.  Into the thick of it.  I promised a new post this week and a new post you shall have!

I just moved into a new apartment!  I LOVE IT!  It's a 2 bedroom with 2 floors and a garage!  And I get the whole second room to myself for sewing!  Yay!  Pumpkin (my chichi) is happy as a clam.  He's running and slipping all overt the wood floors and spends all day staring out the screen door.  Ah... to be a dog...  Maybe I'll post a tour if you ask nicely :)

Anyway, my buddies over at Random Encounters are in the process of making THE GREATEST VIDEO EVER!  Featuring me!  O.o

They just posted on Tumblr about the video a few days ago (for which I unfortunately do not have a release date for just yet ><), but I can tell you I just rerecorded the song (which sounds amazing BTW) and I am very excited to see the final piece!  As should you be!

I had promised them I'd have more content here so people can get all excited about the awesomeness that will be our now and future collaborations, but alas, moving consumes your life.  Especially when you have to do it yourself.  While be bombarded with extra work from your boss.  ><

But there is a silver lining.  I am here before you now with less hours at work and a room to myself for cosplay and I WILL be more active; though for the time being, you'll have to suffice with photos of old costumes... sorry. (they're really good, though.  I promise.)

Today, I'm featuring photos of Princess Toadstool (Peach).  You'll see when I finally get my first video up on my YouTube that I have lost a considerable amount of weight since this shoot, so that's very exciting (for me at least).

For now, though, you get...


I know, I know.  You're so excited, right?  Stay tuned for "Up-Close and Personal with Princess Toadstool"...

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