Monday, June 23, 2014

The Road to ComicCon! Endor Assault Leia, #4

Can you believe it???  We're LESS THAN 30 DAYS away from COMIC CON!!!

After finishing my poncho, I decided to take some time to knock off a few of the smaller items from that long list of stuff I need to do to finish my cosplay and prepare for SDCC.


I began with my shirt.  Instead of altering a pattern or drafting one from scratch, I decided to modify a shirt I bought at the Salvation Army for $4.  I specifically chose a long-sleeved men's khaki button up for this project.  Leia's shirt is short-sleeved, with small pockets on the sleeves and no buttons or other visible closures on the front.  I chose a long-sleeved shirt so I could hem the sleeves to the length I wanted and use the extra fabric to create the little shoulder pockets.

I started by measuring how long I wanted the sleeves, cutting them with a seam allowance, and hemming them.  The sleeves fall just above my elbows, like you can see in this photo of Leia.  

As I said, there are no visible closures on the front of Leia's shirt.  Since I did not make my own shirt, I had to modify the front closure to hide the button holes.  I cut all of the buttons off of the front of the shirt - now that side of the shirt closes in front, which will hide the button holes - and attached snaps to keep the shirt closed while I wear it. 

Once the sleeves were hemmed and the front closure modified, I began to build the pockets using the extra material I had initially removed from the shirt.  You can see one of the pockets in the photo of Leia I posted above.  I was not concerned with making them functional (really, what would I carry in these pockets?  anything useful would make them too bulky), so I only had to worry about making them look right: the right size, the right style flap, etc.  They're a little flatter than Leia's, but I'm happy with them.  I might end up tacking the pocket flaps down to keep them closed and looking right.

I'm not sure if I need to modify the collar at all yet.  The existing collar isn't perfectly like Leia's, but I think it will work.  I'm going to worry about making the pants and vest before I spend time fiddling with the collar, though.  So for now, we are going to say this shirt is done.  Here is a photo of it:

Please excuse the wrinkles...


I also completed the insignia Leia wears on her vest and her watch/communicator.  I used images of Leia and the insignia build by Verdaera on DeviantArt as a reference for the badge.  Verdaera's build is seriously the best reference on the internet for this badge because, as she points out in her post, there are no high-quality close-up images of it.

For materials, I used some clay I had left over from other projects.

Badge - I started with gray Crayola Model Magic air-dry clay to construct my base and the badge details.  Then I used Sculpey brand oven-bake clay to make the blue disks and black bar.  I was drinking a beer at the time and ended up using the bottle cap to punch out the blue disks - this helped make sure both disks were the same size and the little ridges on the sides added some texture.  

A couple of days later, once the foam clay had thoroughly dried, I glued the (baked and cooled) disks and bar to the gray base.  I'm still trying to decide how to attach the badge to my shirt - I might glue some velcro or snaps to the back of the badge.  Though I'm starting to wonder why I bothered making the badge at all - it's going to be hidden by the poncho the whole time!

Watch - I made the watch body and details out of Sculpey brand clay.  I'm going to paint the screen area black and coat it with some epoxy to make it shiny, like glass.  For the posts where the strap will attach, I used two nails that were kicking around in my toolbox.  I haven't attached the strap yet, but just plan on using a strip of the material/pleather I'm going to use for my belt pouches and a snap or two.

It's a little big for my wrist, so I plan on remaking this eventually, using better materials and making it look less "hand made" and more like an actual wristwatch/communicator/piece of technology.  But this will definitely work for the Con.

The Road to ComicCon! One Month Away!

Squeeeee!  Can you believe it???  We're 30 days away from SDCC 2014!!!

I am so excited!  We're starting to get news of panels and exclusives (the Mattel exclusive pre-sale is happening this week), and events throughout the Gaslamp Quarter and elsewhere outside the convention center are being confirmed!

One month to go and I still need to...
  • Paint my poncho
  • Make my belt and pouches
  • Make my vest
  • Modify my shirt
  • Make my trousers
  • Figure out just what the heck I'm wearing on my feet (my fUggs with insoles)
  • Build my blaster
  • Make my other Leia accessories
  • Make my hoodie
  • Order my boyfriend's Wookiee t-shirt (he'll wear it while I cosplay Leia)
  • Knit our Jayne Cobb cunning hats
  • Put together my survival bag
  • Buy a poster tube
Seems like a lot, but it's really just cosplay stuff left to do!

I CAN'T WAIT!!!!!!!!

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Road to ComicCon! Endor Assault Leia, #3

The sun came out!

The last week has been very overcast, with forecasts of rain.  While we didn't get much rain, when it did it poured down.  This meant that, though I had bought the paint to finish my poncho, I couldn't work on that part of my cosplay.

Today we finally had some sun and the backyard was dry, so I dragged my poncho and spray paint outdoors.  Because I only had one shot to paint the actual poncho, I practiced on a piece of muslin to figure out my technique.

I used Rust-Oleum brand spray paint that I bought at Home Depot.  The colors I chose were limited by the store selection, but I think I did alright.

(I was hoping to buy Krylon, but my local Lowe's and Home Depot don't carry that brand.  The Krylon spray paint says it can be used on fabric projects - the Rust-Oleum one doesn't explicitly say it can, so I'm hoping it continues to look as good as it does right now.  I will update if the paint starts flaking off!)

The colors I used were:

Kona Brown - Gloss      Hunter Green - Gloss        Eden Green - Satin

My fabric was a khaki twill I bought using a coupon at JoAnn's.  At first I was concerned the colors wouldn't be bright enough on the khaki background, but once I got spraying I was pretty pleased with the result.  I wish I could have done this on a flatter surface, like a driveway, but you work with what you got.

And here is my (mostly) finished poncho:

I hadn't painted the hood yet in this shot, and then when I did paint the hood I got the paint all over my hands and couldn't take any photos!

I used Vera/Verdaera's photos of her Endor Leia costume, posted on her DeviantArt page and the Rebel Legion forum, as a guide.  Her costume is fantastic, and if you're a Star Wars fan you should definitely check out her other costumes - the Padme Episode II cut scene Senate dress is GORGEOUS!

I also watched the speeder bike chase in Return of the Jedi on repeat and tried to sketch out where I thought the colors went.  Unfortunately I didn't make my drawing to scale, so my actual poncho is a little off (some patches of color are bigger than they should be).  But I'm not trying to pass muster for the Rebel Legion with this costume, I'm just having fun!

Later tonight, once I am sure the paint is set, I will cut the belt slits on the front and Fray-Check the edges.  And then I can say that my poncho is officially DONE!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Utinni! A Star Wars Cocktail Recipe

What is a girl to do when she wants ice cream but can't be bothered to leave the house and find some?

Get the bottle of cake flavored vodka out from the liquor cabinet and mix it with a little milk.

Mmmmmm, tastes like a vanilla milkshake.  An awesome vanilla milkshake that makes it kind of hard to spell "vanilla milkshake" at the speed that I type.

My recipe is about a cup of milk (higher fat = nummier, but skim works) and two shots of cake vodka.  Right now I'm drinking Smirnoff, but I started doing this with Pinnacle.  Throw in a few ice cubes, drink with a straw.  Or out of a martini glass.  Or a mug.  Who cares, it's so tasty.

Tonight I was sitting here, getting ready to knit another Jayne Cobb cunning hat (check out Keiyla's Blog for a pretty much screen-accurate pattern), thinking about my Leia costume, and having a cocktail.  And I thought, "If I dyed this drink blue it could be called an utinni!"

Curious if any Star Wars fan had made a drink called the Utinni, I googled it.  And found this recipe by That's Nerdilicious.  Now, that recipe sounds pretty tasty, but it's pretty much just a brown, minty White Russian knock-off.  That's not good enough - how am I supposed to believe a Jawa would drink this?  It needs some Bantha milk!  So I decided to make my own recipe, complete with blue milk.


  • 1 or 1-1/2 cups 1% milk
  • 2 shots cake flavored vodka
  • Blue food coloring
  • Ice

Mix milk, vodka, and a couple drops of food coloring in a glass and add ice.  
Alternatively, mix in a shaker with the ice, then strain over a cocktail glass if you want to be classier* than me.

* But I'm writing this while wearing a tie-dyed shirt I bought from Roy G Biv back in 1997, so it's not all that hard...


Friday, June 13, 2014

The Road to ComicCon! 40 Days Out

Only 40 days left!  It's hard to believe, but San Diego Comic Con is almost upon us!

(I'm using the countdown on the SDCC Unofficial Blog)

Yesterday I went out and bought some more supplies to work on my cosplay.  I really need to make some significant progress on it in the next week, because there is still so much to do.

I need to...

  • Paint my poncho
  • Make my belt and pouches
  • Make my vest
  • Modify my shirt
  • Make my trousers
  • Figure out just what the heck I'm wearing on my feet
  • Build my blaster

I will make posts about my cosplay here, and I intend to post a detailed blaster build once that is done and I have photos.

On top of everything I still need to do for my cosplay, I need to embellish the hoodie I'm going to take with.  According to a few sources, the AC inside the convention center and the chilly nights near the waterfront mean con-goers will be dealing with fluctuating temperatures throughout the day.  I have decided to make a special hoodie to wear: a Captain Marvel hoodie.  (I really like this tutorial by Tumblr user ShinyKari.)

Fortunately that is pretty much all I have left to do before we leave.  Other than packing, it seems like everything is ready.  We obviously have our passes.  We've had our hotel reservation almost as long (and are barely paying for it - yay Marriott points!), and our flights planned for close to two months now.

I even have my daily backpack picked out and have been putting supplies in it as I've thought of them/added them to my list.  Once I have that put together I'll do my own post on what I'll be carrying every day as a Comic Con n00b - and then after the Con I'll do a follow up, saying what worked, what didn't, and if I forgot anything that would have been useful.

Some resources I've found helpful in preparing for Comic Con:
Toucan Blog - this is the official Comic-Con International blog, and while I haven't used it much since buying our passes, they updated this week that they will be posting schedules, etc, so I plan to visit it frequently to see what's up.
SDCC Blog - everything on this site is useful, and I am using their Twitter recommendations to follow real-time updates at the Con.
Outside Comic Con - their events list details what is going on in the Gaslamp district and around the convention center
Nerdy Girlie - her backpack guide and general tips and tricks draw from her own experience attending SDCC.
r/ComicCon - Reddit's Comic Con community has been pretty useful.  Like the rest of Reddit, you have to wade through the crap to get to the good stuff, and the most useful links can be found if you just follow the first two blogs I've linked, but occasionally good questions or conversations are started on this sub that help provide new perspectives or information.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Road to ComicCon! 42 Days Out! Don't PANIC!

42 days until San Diego Comic Con!

Yeah... I really need to start getting ready.

Tomorrow we're going to go out and buy more cosplay supplies.  And I really need to get walking every day, otherwise my dogs'll be barking after one day on the con floor.  I spend way too much time sitting or barefoot... and I should probably buy some new insoles for my shoes.

Ok, add all that to the list.

Posts on this blog will become more frequent as SDCC gets closer.

(I wonder if my boyfriend confirmed if his parents are dog-sitting for us... they were on the phone a long time, did he ever ask...?  Yeah, I should probably find that out...)

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Road to ComicCon! Cosplay: Endor Assault Leia, #2

I've started working on my Princess Leia cosplay for SDCC.  So far I bought the material to make my vest and poncho.  Thanks to sales and coupons, I managed to get it all for $20.

I will be making the vest and poncho from scratch, and possibly the trousers too.  I hate, hate, HATE sewing trousers for myself (I inevitably rip out the crotch because I have a weird thigh-butt-waist ratio), so I would like to avoid that if I can.  But, because of the shade of blue and high waist, I think I will end up sewing a pair.  Oh well, maybe it's time to look up a tutorial for drafting my own pattern.

At least I have a lot of JoAnn's coupons...

For the khaki shirt I am planning to check out a few thrift shops in town to see if I can find one in the right color.  Ideally I would find a man's shirt with long sleeves, so I can cut them shorter and use the excess to sew the shoulder pockets.  It looks like Leia's shirt lacks buttons, so I think I'll just cut off the buttons and use that side as the top closure (to hide the button holes) with snaps or something hidden.  Heck, velcro could even work if I don't want to sew on a bunch of snaps.

For the insignia on the vest, I've seen examples of it made in clay, but I'm leaning towards craft foam.  It will be lightweight, I already have the materials, and I won't have to worry if something happens to it since it will be such a simple and cheap build.

No idea about the boots.  Since I will be on my feet all day while wearing this costume I want to be comfortable and wear something with support.  I might make covers for an existing pair of combat-style boots I have, to hide the lace and give them height.  It wouldn't be accurate, but I know I can wear those boots all day without issue.  Or I might say screw it and just wear some Uggs (ha! $10 fUggs from Walmart, morelike!)

I began with the poncho and vest, since I have those materials and they will involve the most sewing and drafting.  So far I have finished sewing the poncho (except the belt slits) and will begin drafting the vest tomorrow.


Leia wears her poncho during the speeder chase and the assault on the Imperial bunker during the Battle of Endor.

It is basically one large rectangle with a hood.  There are slits in the front piece for the belt to come through.  The best depiction of this I've found online is at Verdaera's DeviantArt page - as part of her costume progress pics, she posted a photo of her poncho before she added the camouflage paint.  That photo really shows how the poncho drapes and the belt cinches the front but leaves the sleeves free at the sides.

The poncho hangs a little lower in the back than it does in the front - about knee length in the back, and a little shorter than finger-tip length in the front.  On me, this measures to about 72 inches in length, plus two for seam allowance.

I managed to find some twill fabric with a 54" width.  With my arm-span, I needed my rectangle to be at least 41 inches wide, not including seam allowance.  The poncho sleeves hit right around elbow length, a little longer.  There is a seam about 6ish inches in from the sleeve edges.  Because I only used a single thickness of fabric to cut down cost, mine ended up being around 6 inches deep.  I just folded in the excess fabric from the material's width for that seam.

Now... the hood.
The hood was tricky.  Based on a behind the scenes costume photo shared on the Rebel Legion forum, the hood fits over the speeder bike helmet.  There is a fold in the front that looks like the big circle is one piece used to gather in the hood around her face.  I think it's supposed to look something like this.  (Please forgive my crummy MSPaint job, I just whipped this up really quick.)

But I didn't buy enough fabric to make it exactly like that.  Instead, I made a basic hood with a modified collar/hem.  That way it lays right, but I don't intend to ever wear it up so if it's a little off it won't matter.  I can remake it if I ever try to join the Rebel Legion or just want it to be a little more screen accurate.  It looks something more like this:

And here it is, finished, hood down:

Not too shabby, eh?

All that needs done on this is sewing the belt slits and spray painting it.  I'm nervous to paint it, since I only get one shot at making it look right.  I also need to check and see if it is a natural or synthetic fabric (forgot to look!) since that might influence what kind of paint/dye I use.  Ultimately, I will probably just shoot it with some Krylon, since it's pretty cheap and I don't want to ruin my bathtub working with dye.

That's it for now!