Costume Notes: Ms. Marvel Ballgown

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Still feels weird to see myself as a blonde.

Completed: June 2014

Hours Spent: 20~

Debuted: A-Kon 25

Why This Costume: I was positively thrilled to see that A-Kon was holding a masquerade ball this year. Any excuse to wear a pretty dress! I hemmed and hawed over what I wanted to wear. I was pretty much set on just costuming up my satin Cambie or thrifting a prom dress, but then I saw this gorgeous artwork by Hanie Mohd. Done.

How I made it: 

The base of this dress is Kwik Sew 3400 (view A with the train), which was gifted to me when I first started sewing. It’s a fairly straight-forward design: empire waist and six panels. Easy-peasy, right? Well, I hoped.

I decided that I should attempt a FBA (full bust adjustment) on this dress since I wanted the bust to be as precise as possible. One of these days, I will master a FBA, but this dress was not that occasion. I made the FBA way too big, despite checking and double checking my measurements, AND making a muslin. I wound up with massive underbust puckers that had me ready to trash this dress. After getting very thoroughly friendly with my seam-ripper (seam ripping serged stitches blows), I finally went back to the drawing board and cut a straight XL for the bust and tapering to a L at the waist. Much better.

EDIT: Did you guys know that Kwik-Sew actually accommodates for different bust sizes based on the size pattern you cut? So I basically attempted to do a FBA on a pattern that was already drafted for my cup size. The more you know…

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My initial run at this. Bad bust. Bad.

Once I got the bust issue sorted, I had to deal with the lightning bolt. The bolt is made of a gold charmeuse. I double-layered it and applied interfacing to help hold the shape. I topstitched around the edges for design and to help it lay flatter. This was another situation where I checked my measurements multiple times and made up a muslin, but I wasn’t happy with the initial result. I was afraid that the charmeuse would be too shiny and glare like crazy in pictures, so I used the wrong side of the fabric. Meh…

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Bolt the first. Bleh.

The bigger issue was that the shape was just… wrong. To get it to lay flat, I would have needed to add massive darts to the bolt, but I wasn’t liking the look of it. Fortunately, I had just enough charmeuse to cut another bolt, so I used the dart-ified bolt to draft another bolt and use the proper side of the fabric. Much better.

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Once I was satisfied with the bolt, I hand stitched the bolt to the shell of the dress. I secured the neckline by attaching jeweled straps from the top of the bolt to the back of the dress. I ultimately decided to change the zipper in the back to an invisible one and used Tasia’s method for attaching the lining. The pattern instructs you to understitch the lining before adding the zipper. In hindsight, that probably would have been better for my version of this dress, since I can’t get it under my machine to understitch now. I’ll probably do that by hand before I wear it again.

The pattern calls for boning in the side seams, but I also added some in the seams under the bust. I harvested the plastic boning from a crappy fashion corset I got ages ago and used bias tape for the casing.

A moment of silence for the corset that gave its life for a pretty dress.
A moment of silence for the corset that gave its life for a pretty dress.

I hacked off the bottom lining to view B so that it wouldn’t get caught in my shoes and finished it off with a rolled hem on my serger. Hemming the shell was surprisingly fun. I decided to hem it with horsehair as practice for my upcoming sailor fuku. The result is lovely, even if it did take several hours. I used a bit of ribbon I had in my stash to create a wrist strap on the train.

The rest of the outfit was pulled from my previous Ms. Marvel, making this one of my cheapest costumes to date at about $60 for materials. Not bad for a formal gown! I did spring for a masquerade mask from my new favorite costume shop, Dallas Vintage Shop (they carry Ben Nye!), but I didn’t wind up wearing it. Oh well. There’s always the A-fest ball!

I was really happy to shoot this dress with ACCosplay at A-Kon. He’s got a background in fashion photography, and I learned so much by working with him. I love how he captured the lighting with this dress and really made the colors pop.

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Photos by ACCosplay. I love this piano, and we stumbled across it completely by accident!

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You can see more pictures of this costume and my other costumes from A-Kon on my Facebook page! Also, I promise a non-cosplay thing later this week 🙂

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A-Kon Wrap-Up

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Because it’s not a con without costume selfies. With Mia, Peony, and Samurai Pizza Kitten.

In early June, I attended A-Kon 25, which is one of the biggest anime conventions in Texas and held in Dallas. A-Kon will always have a special place in my heart, since it was the very first con I attended three years ago!

This was A-Kon’s second year in their new location, and staff has taken feedback and problems last year to heart. Last year, I attended only on Saturday. Even though I showed up for on-site registration at 7am, I still stood in line for close to six hours. Insane. This year, I pre-registered, but I only stood in line for two hours. It’s still a hassle, but it’s much better than the confuddled lines of last year. Next year, I’ll probably opt for the charity option, which had no wait at all.

Thursday

Lovely ladies! With GlitzyGeekGirl and Morgan as Belle.
Lovely ladies! With GlitzyGeekGirl and Morgan as Belle.

A-Kon ran from Thursday through Sunday this year, and Thursday’s main event was the Masquerade Ball. I made a ballgown inspired by Ms. Marvel (original design by Hanie Mohd). I was super excited when ACCosplay asked to do a photoshoot of my gown. He’s posted a teaser of our shoot, and it’s absolutely gorgeous. I can’t wait to share the final results with you guys!

I met up with a few other cosplayers on Thursday, but I didn’t stay late, knowing how busy the weekend would be.

Friday

Gotta catch 'em all!
Gotta catch ’em all!

I hit up the con in the afternoon and evening on Friday. I dressed in my new Pokemon trainer cosplay so that I could wander around and be comfortable while scoping out the con. There were so many fun costumes, but my favorite part of the night was hitting up the Repo! The Genetic Opera shadowcast by Amber Does Dallas. Repo is one of my guilty pleasure movies, and this was my first time watching it live. Shadowcast performances are always fun, so I’ll definitely try to make the next one!

Ran into the lovely Yaya Han while I was wandering about!
Ran into the lovely Yaya Han while I was wandering about!

Saturday

Cos-ception. A woman spotted me at the con and sprinted to me, asking me to pose with this print. Now I have to buy this print when I move.
Cos-ception. A woman spotted me at the con and sprinted over, asking me to pose with this print. Now I have to buy this print.

Saturday was cosplay day! I had hoped to debut my Sailor Jupiter, but it didn’t come together in time. Instead, I wore my Bombshell Wonder Woman with a few improvements (I’ll post about those later this week) and looked at costumes. I made it over to the DC Photoshoot that afternoon and actually ran into a Bombshell Batgirl, which is my second favorite Bombshell design.

Da stick of truth!!!
Da stick of truth!!!

I sat Sunday out since I had a lot of family obligations that weekend. Overall, the con was much better than last year and I had a really good time! Next year will be an interesting challenge, since there’s only going to be a week between Dallas Comic Con and A-Kon 0_o. It’s definitely going to require some costume scheduling and planning!

Nanananananana... Batgirl!
Nanananananana… Batgirl!

You can see more photos on my Facebook page!

A-Kon 25 Lineup

I promise, I haven’t fallen off the face of the Earth! The last few weeks have been a crazy mix of preparing to move and coming up with new costumes for A-Kon, which kicks off for me tonight. Here’s my line-up:

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Thursday: Masquerade Ms. Marvel. I’m really excited about this one. The gown is based off of artwork by Hanie Mohd. She does a lot of great redesigns of super heroines.

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Friday: Pokemon trainer Serena. From the recent Pokemon X/Y games.

Saturday: Bombshell Wonder Woman. My Sailor Jupiter didn’t quite work out, so I’m pushing her back to Dragon Con. I did make few updates to Wondie, though, including finally painting the boots.

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I’m sitting Sunday out, but I may drop by the after-party at The Church. If you guys are going to A-Kon, please feel free to say hi! I’ll hopefully be back to my normal posting schedule next week.

Rogue: X-Men Animated Series

Completed: May 2013

Hours Spent: 7-10~ (on my end)

Debuted at: A-Kon 24

Why This Costume: If Sailor Moon was my first forray into anime, the 90s X-Men cartoon was my “gateway drug” for all-around nerdom. I adored this cartoon, and Rogue was my all-time favorite character. I was born in Mississippi and raised in the South, so I really identified with her as I grew up. Plus, Rogue is one of the few comic heroines that I match up with in terms of physical attributes (see: tall, busty, muscular, brunette), and I can pull off a mean Southern accent when necessary.

How I Made It: The bulk of the credit for this costume goes to the amazing Ana Aesthetic. I secured a commission for a bodysuit from Ana in mid-April. It was a bit more than I normally spend on my costumes, but I really wanted to do this character justice and Ana’s work is simply wonderful. I could rave about this all day, but I’ll just let the pictures tell the story.

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Feeling like a superhero yet?

Fun side story: since I’m in the process of moving, I had this shipped to my parents’ place. I wound up trying on my costume and doing things around the house in the costume, much to my BF and family’s amusement and chagrin.

To smooth out imperfections under the costume and give a really exaggerated hourglass appearance, I wore a dancer’s body tight and a waist cincher from Victoria’s Secret. I also wore a Victoria’s Secret Bombshell bra so that I didn’t look flat 😛

In my initial planning for this costume, I wanted to make all the accessories myself. That didn’t pan out for a couple of reasons; 1) In late April, I was offered a job that required moving; 2) My cat maimed my sewing machine.

I wasn’t quite ready to debut my Tifa costume and really wanted to get some pictures with Ana at A-Kon, so I opted to commission and buy most of the other pieces I needed so that I didn’t have to worry about borrowing friends’ sewing machines while moving. Here’s a list of where I got the various items:

  • Boot covers: Angry Robots Cosplay. These ladies were great. I mailed them a pair of my old work shoes and they took it from there. They were also fantastic about communication and charged a very reasonable price. The tops tend to flop over a bit, so I’m planning to put in some interfacing and stuff them with craft foam.

  • Jacket: eBay. I got it from this seller, but the specific jacket I got is gone now.

  • Gloves: Amazon. They’re a little too short, but only $6.

  • Earrings: Wal-Mart

  • X-Patches (for jacket): eBay. Very fast shipping, and super affordable. I’ll definitely order more of these when I remake the jacket.

Hair: I’m naturally brunette and my hair holds curls pretty well, so the only thing I needed to do for this costume was figure out the white of Rogue’s hair. I had ordered a long white bang from Arda Wigs for a different Rogue costume, so I just curled this piece and clipped it in.

Belt/buckle: For the belt, I re-used a faux leather strap from my Codex costume and attached a parachute buckle. To create the buckle, I created the X logo with craft foam, following this tutorial to create a sealant. After the glue dried, I painted the buckle with watered-down acrylic paints and attached it to the buckle with sticky-back Velcro.

X Logo/Bars: *sigh* Where to even begin on this? Well, one of the things I needed to do to the bodysuit was add the X and black bars. Initially, I planned to paint them on. However, the paint I used bled really bad (even with resist) and I could barely move without getting wet paint in splotches all over the rest of the suit. After much weeping and gnashing of teeth (along with some running water and lots of soap), I managed to scrub out the ink to the point that it’s barely noticeable.

About two days before the con, I stumbled across this tutorial about applying appliques to lycra and decided to give it a go as a last ditch effort. The fabric I used wasn’t as neat as I’d hoped, but you can’t really tell in pictures. I’m going to trim it up a bit before D*C, but overall, I’m pretty pleased with the result.

Thoughts on this costume: Overall, this is a very comfortable costume. I’m super, super happy to finally have a chance to cosplay as one of my all-time favorite comic book heroines! Apparently a lot of people at A-Kon felt the same way, because I got stopped for SO MANY PICTURES! :-O

The timing of this costume worked out pretty well too. I had initially planned to go with friends as a Borderlands group to A-Kon, but it didn’t wind up working out. While I enjoy my Lilith costume, I only had one day to attend and had no desire to spend hours on bodypaint when I could have been running around the con. My prep time for this costume only took about an hour and a half, which was amazing.

My only real frustration with all this (aside from the paint) was shipping. Since I was in the process of moving, some of my packages were caught in mailing limbo and I didn’t get some of my stuff until a few days before the con. I should have just sent everything to a “safety” address. Oh well, live and learn.

There are definitely some things I want to update for future wearings. I’m planning to re-make the jacket for D*C (I just ordered a Rogue jacket pattern from God Save the Queen Fashions). The paint on my belt buckle is chipping pretty badly, so I may invest in a resin cast belt buckle and take the time to make some utility pouches. I’m also planning to pick up some green contacts and a wig for D*C since I’m cutting my hair short soon.

Several pictures are posted on my Twitter account, @librarianmindy, but here’s one from when I met up with my friends.

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Bodysuit up!