Friday, April 20, 2012

A preview of things to come

Alrighty!  So I've gotten my backlog of costumes that I have with me in Cali all up and that means I'm on to bigger and better and newer things!  HURRAY!

With Marvel's The Avengers due out in just a few weeks I am finally fast at work on my Black Widow cosplay for the premiere!  There's still a decent amount of work to be done, but I have taken a few photos and I'm going to start posting Progress Updates as things move along.

The first of these will be up Monday and will feature a character background on Black Widow (Natasha Romanova).  Wednesday will feature the belt and soon after, you'll see a post on the gauntlets and another on coloring the wig.

In the meantime, I thought I'd share the below photo of the first time I tried on the wig with my catsuit.  Enjoy!

PS ~ For those that have been anxiously awaiting it, my first video blog is with the editor as we speak and will hopefully be up next week.  I'll keep you posted as things progress, but start getting excited!

Lots of love!

CosPlay with me

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Angi on Chris Nolan's Catwoman

The hot topic on everyone's lips these days is Chris Nolan's final Batman chapter due out this summer: The Dark Knight Rises, the most anticipated aspect being Nolan's portrayal of everyone's favorite villianess Catwoman.

Now we're all aware that Nolan has fought long and hard to create a realistic depiction of the famous characters of the Batman series.  Well, I'm sorry to say, Mr. Nolan, but so far your depiction of Catwoman has been anything but realistic, so I've taken the liberty of designing a Catwoman much better suited to survive in the real world.  I hope you find it enlightening.

CosPlay with me

Monday, April 16, 2012

Up-Close and Personal with Yuna

This is an old costume.  Truth be told, Yuna's probably my first cosplay that I ever MADE.  I'd dressed up many times with pieces of clothing from my wardrobe that I threw together to make something passable, but Yuna was a challenge.

I made this cosplay in high school with a lot of help from my mom for ICON (Island Convention) - an anime/manga/scifi/fantasy/everything nerdy convention held annually at SUNY Stony Brook on Long Island.  A large part of it were items we found and altered to fit the outfit and I must admit, I'm still pretty pleased with the outcome.

Some day I'll re-do it to fix the few inaccuracies we didn't have the time or know-how to do right the first time, but that's a day when I can afford a wig and Tiny Bees:

Oh, the things I'll buy when I have money...

Anyway... Perhaps on that day, I'll also post current photos of the costume on me.  For now, you get my dress form and old photos from high school.  Enjoy.

I guess I'll start from the top and work my way down.

The earring:

At the time, I was very inexperienced and knew pretty much nothing about bead-making.  Honestly, I still pretty much know nothing.  But, I knew an authentic costume needed some attempt at Yuna's iconic beaded earring.  So I dug through my mom's old bags of feathers and beads and found 2 fluffy blue feathers and beads that were close enough in color to Yuna's that I felt content.

I cut a string of thin black rope and strung the beads on.  At the very bottom, I tied a small knot around the feathers and pulled out the hot glue gun.  I shimmied the lowest bead over the knot and hot glued the whole clump together (bead, feathers and knot) and tied the other end to a hair clip I clipped in behind my right ear.

The hood:

I'm pretty sure all we did for the hood was trace the hood of a hoodie that fit well and sewed the two pieces together.  We made sure it overlapped a little so we could put a small square of Velcro in the front and we sewed a string of elastic along the bottom edge so it would fit a little better.  The fabric is just a thin pink cotton we found at Joann's.

The "tail":

This was probably the most fun part of the whole costume to figure out and subsequently make.  First, we bought a pair of THICK small stockings and cut both legs off at the thigh and toe.  We lined up the two legs so they extended the right length, lining them up at the base of the skull with a few inches leeway and extending to about the ankles.  Then we took an old black wig and chopped off a handful about a foot in length.  We tied one end of the stocking around the hair and hot glued it secure.

Then we proceeded to loosely stuff the stocking tube with cotton/batting from the fabric store until it was the proper thickness all the way down.  We wrapped the whole thing with thick, wide red ribbon on a diagonal, dotting hot glue every few wraps to ensure that the ribbon didn't fall off and again leaving a few inches of loose stocking at the top.

Once the whole thing was wrapped and the ribbon securely glued at the top and bottom, we wrapped a piece of black fabric around the bottom end (we didn't have the capabilities to die white fabric pink on one end, so we settled), hot gluing one edge to the seam where the hair and stocking were secured and wrapping tightly a few times around.  We dotted some glue in the center of the final edge for safety and wrapped a piece of thin black rope around the fabric and tied a bow.

On the other end of the piece (where we left those few inches of stocking), we folded the stocking over a stretch of THIN black rope long enough to wrap around my head twice and sewed it closed:

When the time came to wear the costume, I separated my hair going from about a quarter of the way back from my hairline down to the base of my skull.  I tied the rope around that separation line and turned the rope so the bow/knot was in the back and laid my hair over the rope.  I stuck a few hair pins over the rope to make sure it stayed, but no one knew I had a rope running over my head!  I also made sure to wear my hood OVER the hair rope since that's how Yuna wears it and it hid any unpleasant details that may have been visable at the top of the piece.

The armbands and bracelet:

These unfortunately got a bit destroyed, which is a pity.  Luckily they were the easiest thing to make, so I can still break it down.

The bracelet was simply a piece of black ribbon long enough to wrap my wrist about 1 1/2 - 2 times that secured with a small piece of black Velcro.

The armbands were pieces of gold felt about 3 inches in final height and wide enough to wrap around my upper arms with about an inch of space for cord.  When we cut the felt, we left about half an inch on the width so we could fold over a quarter inch on either side and sew it secure with black thread.  For the open end, we simply poked holes along either side and thread thin black rope through like a corset, tying the ends in a small bow.

The top:

The top started with a store-bought white tube top.  We brought up the bottom so it sat under the bust and stitched it lightly in place.  We couldn't find pink lace that we were happy with (or figure out how to line up the lace so it sat under the white but still left the white to flow freely), so we lined white lace up under my bust and layered it over a piece of pink fabric from the hood long enough to stretch from my bust to my hips over which we laid a piece of pink-tinted lacy fabric that stretched just a bit longer than the pink and cut little triangles at the bottom to look like lace.  We sewed all three pieces together (lace, pink and sheer) and attached Velcro at the back so it wrapped around and secured in the back:

Then we added squares of Velcro under the tube top and at the top of the lace piece so the top all secured together.  In retrospect, I should've taken a photo of that... Oh well.

The belt is a piece of gold rope that wraps around the waist and ties in the back.

The Zanarkand Abes logo I cut from a piece of black felt from the craft store that's felt on one side and "glue" on the other, so you cut out the shape you want and then peel the paper off and stick it to whatever - in this case a white tube top:

Finally, we hand-stitched two pieces of thin white ribbon to the top of the tube top that reached around my neck and tied in the back.

The pouch:

The belt is a rope belt my mom happened to have from like the 70s that was the perfect color and look.

The pouch started with a cardboard box that we cut apart and glued back together in the size we needed.  We covered the whole thing with tan felt, extending the top piece to form a flap in the front.  On the back, we added a small strip of felt, gluing only the top and the bottom so it lined up towards the top of the pouch through which we slipped the belt.

For the tassels, we took a large piece of felt and cut it into strips to about a half inch of the other side and glued that to the inside of the front flap:

Once that was secured, we added a small square of Velcro to the flap and front of the pouch so it would stay closed.

The skirt:

We started with the "skirt" part.  We cut 3 pieces of blue cotton fabric, one about 15 inches tall, one about 11 inches tall and one about 8 inches tall, all three about 42 inches wide.  We put a small seam on each piece on the varied height edges.  From there, we sewed a piece of lace to one 42 inch edge of each piece and then sewed each piece together - lace edges over bare edges, the smaller piece at the top, the largest at the bottom.  Then we gathered the bare edge of the top (short piece) a bit.

Next we cut a strip of the blue fabric about 4 inches tall and 44 inches long, plus 2 additional pieces 4 inches tall and 13 inches long.  The long piece was folded in half over the skirt, making sure the middle of each (skirt and tie) matched up and the edges folded under.  This was then stitched closed, making sure no raw edges poked out.

The other two pieces were then folded in half and sewn similarly (so the edges were folded in and sewed shut).  Then we sewed 2 straight lines right next to each other about a quarter of an inch away from the long edge all the way up.  We did this again a quarter inch away from the last seam and so on until both strips were full.  Then we cut between each pair of seams to about a quarter inch from the other end of the strip and sewed that end to each end of the cord:

This created a really nice fray that I was quite happy with.

Then all I had to do was water down some white paint and feather it up from the lace on each section of the skirt.

The shorts:

Are a pair of swimsuit bottoms in boyshort style that look like denim.  There's not much more to say on that one...

The boots:

Pumpkin gives his seal of approval

These are a wonderful pair of lace up, knee-high combat boots I found at Hot Topic back in high school.  Back then I collected boots (still do a little bit) and I had to have these.  They're a half size too small, unfortunately, but I still love them.  I switched out the black laces they came with for white ribbon laces I bought at Joann's and the look was complete!

Aaaaaand the horrifying photos of high school Angi... ><

CosPlay with me

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Sad Story of the Wands...

So keeping with the trend of Harry Potter posts, I figured I'd tell you a little story about a crazed fangirl and her dream of owning a collection of Harry Potter wands.

Reading the books, the characters I resonated strongest with were all Blacks: Sirius, Bellatrix, Andromeda, Narcissa and Tonks.  I laid out a wonderful plan for the last few films to bring my favorites to life: Narcissa for HBP:

Narcissa (Black) Malfoy

What the newspaper clipping in HPB SHOULD have looked like - the amazing Alex as Draco

 Tonks for DHpt1 (I'll post photos when I retake some cuz I looked nasty) and Bellatrix for DHpt2.

While I brought these characters to life for the movie premieres, I dreamed a dream of collecting the wands of the Black sisters (Andromeda, Narcissa and Bellatrix).  Someday I'll get Tonks too, but that will be a day with money and when I'm done mourning the loss of my dream...

So finally I made it to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Orlando!

What better place could there be to stock up on Harry Potter wand replicas than Ollivander's at the official home of Harry Potter fans!

Ollivander walks through his shop

Now what you may not know if you haven't been to the park is that you can see Ollivander and have him select a wand for you - that is if you desire to stand on line for 10 hours to have him ask you when your birthday is and hand you a wand pre-selected for that date range.

I chose the other option - the shop out back.  It was like replica heaven!  They had everything - from remembralls to time turners to collections of the main characters wands.  The walls were packed full of boxes lined with cloth each holding a wand just waiting to be selected.  I debated picking up a unique wand, but remembered my dream and made my way to the movie replicas wall where I found such wands as Cho Chang, the whole Malfoy family, Neville Longbottom and Voldemort, but try as I might, Bellatrix was nowhere to be found.  I asked the clerk to find that they don't sell it.  THEY DON'T SELL IT!  As my brain shut down with disappointment:

Angi makes her sad face as she surveys her diminishing options of magical replica happiness

My wonderful mommy encouraged me to pick up Narcissa's wand since I probably couldn't find it anywhere else and bought me another Butterbeer to lift my spirits.  And so, I left the park with a tummy full of Butterbeer and the first wand of my collection:

When I started prepping for DHpt2, another opportunity arose.  I didn't feel right carrying "my sister's" wand around, so I decided to pick up a Bellatrix replica.  I was quite picky about it.  She has 2 versions: a bent wand that comes in replica form on a display wall mount and a straight style that comes in carry-able form.  I searched EVERYWHERE for the boxed version.  Nothing.  I was desperate.  A few days before the film, I contacted Blast From the Past and was blown away by how quickly they responded to my problem.  Within moments, they had a wand on the way and the next day it was in stock in the store.  About $30 later, I had the second wand of my collection:

The world was looking up!  The progress I'd made made up for the lack of Lestrange wand at Ollivander's and now it was just a waiting game until the new movie came out and I could pick up the last wand in the collection...

I assume you've all seen the movie by now.

WHY!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?  As a filmmaker, I understand the choice to cut Andromeda.  She was only featured in a few pages of the book and did little else.  As a collector, I am devastated. 

And so, dear followers and fellow HP lovers, poor, sad Angi will never complete her collection or fulfill her dream of cosplaying all 3 sisters and composeting them all together into a group shot with official replica wands in hand...  :(  *cries in corner*

CosPlay with me

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


So because I'm a proud mama, every once in a while I'll post about my little baby Pumpkin.


Pumpkin is about a year old.  He was found abandoned in LA and I took him in.  He's been my baby ever since.  He's very loyal and he likes to keep an eye on his mommy to make sure she's not getting into any trouble.

Some of you may have noticed him popping up in a photo or two in my Bellatrix post:

Anyway, I found these and a few others while I was going through my new Bellatrix shots and I figured it'd be a good time to introduce everyone to Pumpkin.  I'm sure he'll pop up again.

CosPlay with me

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Up-Close and Personal with Bellatrix Lestrange

You deserve an explanation.  Well, my like 3 frequent followers deserve an explanation >< haha

So here's what happened.  When we got together for the Lestrange costume photo shoot before the movie, my good friend Alex was good enough to agree to shoot for us.  While he took amazing photos of Rodolphus and our House Elf, I was so busy making sure everyone looked good and putting finishing touches on the outfits that there was only one good shot of Bellatrix taken.  I recall us taking more then one shot, but when I received the final images, there was only one of me!  Well that just wasn't good enough for me, so I took it upon myself to take more.  I couldn't get anyone to do a full-fledged shoot with me again, so the newer photos are taken with my decrepit old camera in my work room and I've lost about 20-30 pounds since the movie, so the costume is a bit big, but bear with it.  I think you'll still enjoy it.

As always, feel free to send me questions or comments here or on Twitter!

So as it turned out, Bellatrix was actually pretty easy to take on.  I based her dress on this image by Makani:

Since the image is kindof unfinished, I had a bit of leeway as far as color, but the design was quite well laid out in Chapter 2 of Makani's Half-Blood Prince Project (she's illustrating every chapter and it's amazing).  For the dress, I went with a lovely thin, textured black with a black lining and used Butterick B4929 (style C - the black coat in the top right):

Those of you who follow my blog may recognize this pattern as the one I used for the top of Peach's dress.  This time around, I used the whole pattern and elongated it.  I moved the zipper to the back, left off the trim, closed up the front opening, added a few feet and extended the sleeves to wrap around my middle finger:

Surprisingly, that was the single hardest thing I had to do for this dress.  It was entirely guess work and I wish I could break down for you how the heck I did it...

Anyway, for the "corset", I used Simplicity 2556:

This pattern is FANTASTIC.  It's designed to be altered, so it was incredibly easy to use.  I chose pattern C because the back was very elongating and elegant and I knew I'd have to chop the front off for the corseting, so I knew the wide and low opening in the front would be easy to alter.

I found an amazing purple suiting fabric that was thick and rich looking with a purple satin lining.  I also used the satin for one side of the twist in the back to give it a bit more character.  I sewed a few pieces of boning along the seams (under the bust and along the full back) on the lining so the stitches wouldn't be seen, punched eyelets through the front edge and threaded through a thin, braided black rope.

Then it was a trip to the thrift store for some gorgeous rings, dangly earrings and the most magical, rich witch shoes you've ever seen:

LOVE these...

The final touch (aside from the post-sucked-at-for-years-by-Dementors-in-Azkaban makeup) was a wand.  Of course!  Now, you'd think I would have a Bellatrix wand.  You think wrong! But the sad story of how Angi got cheated out of the wand she wanted at Ollivander's is a story for another day.  The sad story came to a happy conclusion when I contacted Blast From The Past in Burbank, CA and they saved my booty by special ordering a wand for me and getting it in just in time for the movie!

And so, with wand in hand, I prepared for the movie:

at the premiere

I love this collection of costumes and I am so happy to share them with you all.  I sincerely hope you enjoy them as much as I loved wearing and making them.  If you saw us at the premiere and got a photo, let me know and I'll feature it on the site!  And if anyone knows how I can get in touch with Makani, I'd love to show her the finished pieces.  She's such an inspiration to me.


CosPlay with me