Monday, December 5, 2011


I've settled on my first costume for DragonCon...
Movie version Supergirl! I loved this movie as a kid and always wanted a Supergirl costume because of it so now her time has come. I rented the movie from Netflix and got quite a few screen caps and scoured the internet for information on the costume. I turned up a lot of "authentic" Supergirl costumes but I'm hesitant to use them as a resource. On with the break down!

First, a couple shots of the entire costume:

 In the one on the right you can see a little bit of yellow peeking out from under the skirt indicating that it's lined in yellow fabric. I'll have more pictures later on confirming this.

Here are a few shots of the so-called authentic costumes. The one laying out on the table might be the real deal but I'm more skeptical about the three shots on the dress form. I do believe that the suit is separate from the skirt as pictured in the table shot, I'll have screen shots later to support this. Also note the little bit of yellow at the bottom of the skirt in the table shot. The strange boot pantyhose hybrid is throwing me for a bit of a loop. Hereafter they will be known as "bootyhose". From these photos the bootyhose appear to be made from some type of spandex judging by the sheen but if you turn your attention to the two pictures above you'll see that they have more of a pleather look to them. Based on that, I'm calling their bluff on that costume and will not be taking the bootyhose into consideration while constructing my costume.

 Now for some screen shots of the boots:

The first two shots show her flexing her feet when she first gets to Earth. They have quite a wrinkly appearance in the first shot which is smoothed out when she points her toes down. In subsequent shots they don't appear to be quite so wrinkly when she's standing and the ridge down the front either just isn't as apparent or it isn't there at all. I'm wondering if these boots weren't specially made for this shot and this shot only. Moving on to the third shot we can see that her sole appears to be a red rubbery coating on the bottom of the boot. I don't know if Plasti-Dip would do the job for this or not. The third shot clearly shows definition in the shape of the boot complete with pointed toes- further evidence against the bootyhose. I can't see a zipper in any of the views so I believe they were pull-ons though there does appear to be some overlapping in the back that can be seen in the last two shots. It's possible that they have a hidden zipper, I suppose. On that note, I just found an amazing Superman tutorial on League of Heroes that I think I'll be referring to quite a bit during the construction process.

Here's a quick shot showing the skirt lining.
Skirt is unmistakably lined in yellow

I see you, zipper!

 Here's a look at the S symbol on the back of her cape and if you look in the second shot you can see where her skirt zips up in the back.

 I decided to go ahead and do the bracelet as well. I'm not sure how I'm going to get it to light up just yet but I'll consult with people who have more experience with that kind of thing when the time comes. For the base I can probably get some kind of sheet metal and cut a thin strip then bend it to shape. The decorative parts can possibly be built with Apoxie Sculpt though I worry about cracking.  I can get a clear gem like that pretty easily. It'd be ideal if I could find a base bracelet to build on instead of using sheet metal. I'll just have to keep my eye out for these things.

I think I'm off to a pretty good start. Now I need to consider fabrics and start ordering swatches. Hopefully most of them will be free because I'm not exactly swimming in cash right now. I aim to get the samples here in the next couple weeks so I can possibly put any Christmas money I might get toward buying fabric. That could all fly out the window if I have bills due. They have to come first but with any luck I'll be able to get some fabric and ring in the new year working on Supergirl. 

Friday, October 14, 2011


This has been the summer of upheaval. I lost a very close loved one, lost a pet, my husband joined the Marines and left for training (where he had a heart attack) and I quit my job and haven't found another one yet. Things have been turned upside down for a while and I haven't had the energy or the will to work on costumes as of late.I had to skip AWA due to quitting my job but I did manage to get a hotel for Dragon Con next year so I'm pretty stoked about that. I don't have tickets yet but the hotel is the main thing, I'll get tickets when I get a job. I'm hoping that'll motivate me to do some costuming in the next year, maybe a comic book character or some such. Saber is also still on, I'll finish her yet!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Excalibur Progress 1

My board clamped down and ready to cut the base of the blade out

This is after cutting the base and gluing the halves together with the rod in the slot. I had to shim the rod up with wood scraps to make sure it was in the center. I've also got my pattern drawn on at this stage, it's faint because it's in pencil. I went over it with a pen before I started cutting so I could see what I was doing.

Basic shape cut out. All cuts have been done with a saber saw up to this point.

I used the electric planer again to take a little more thickness off and rough out my bevels and point, then I went in with an electric sander and low grit paper to refine the planer cuts.

Cut my cross guard out of MDF. One 3/4" piece wasn't thick enough and two were too thick so I cut a second one from a 1/4" sheet and glued them together. I'll be cutting the raised detail out of sheet styrene so that'll add a little more to the thickness.

I've still got a lot of refining to do on my blade and the cross guard needs a few coats of wood filler along the edges to even everything out. I hope to get a lot of that done and possibly drill the hole in the cross guard this weekend to mount it on the rod.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Excalibur and Supplies

I didn't get as much done as I had planned on Excalibur because I got it in my head that the house needs to be re-arranged again so I can have a makeshift closet in the bedroom. Our house has no closets so we're just hanging some of those brackets on the wall that can hold a closet rod. We'd like it in the bedroom but to do that we'll have to move the dog crate, to move the dog crate something in the rest of the house has to be moved. It's like a sliding puzzle. I knew all those hours of Professor Layton would pay off! My computer will end up being moved to my art desk in the craft room and my computer desk will go to charity along with the filing cabinet. Instant floor space!

I did get the base of the blade cut to fit the curve of the cross guard and I also went ahead and glued the rod in between the two halves of the blade. That took longer than anticipated to dry completely but it's cured and ready for shaping this weekend. With any luck I won't screw it up.

I bought some sheet styrene in a variety of thicknesses to use for the raised gold detail on the base of the blade. I also snagged some clear polyester sheeting for experimentation purposes. I got a pair of Gingher serrated dressmaker's shears off Ebay for a very good price. They'll come in handy when I start cutting the silk organza for the lace and I figure they're a good thing to have around in general. I got a jar of masking fluid thanks to a tip on MLP Arena. It never occurred to me to use that to cover symbols and eyes when airbrushing a pony. It could also have its uses in prop work. I started to top my spending spree off with some pearl airbrush paint for the lace design, but I think I'll hold off on that until I can test it with regular paint- I may not even need the pearl paint. I've got some pearl powder that I can mix in with the paint if it looks like it needs some sparkle. Guess I'll worry about that once I have the dress constructed and ready for the lace.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Excalibur, Inkscape

So, Excalibur. Since my last post I routed out the slots for the rod to sit in and planed the 3/4" boards down to 1/2" thick. That's about it so far. This weekend I hope to get the blade shape cut out and plane the slope in down to the point of the blade.

I recently discovered vector graphics (yes, I'm being perfectly serious). All those hours of frustration in Photoshop trying to get perfect "coloring book" lines and failing...ugh. Anyway, I ran across a free program called Inkscape and downloaded it with the intent of using it to make full-size plans for props. I've played around with it but have by no means mastered it. My graphics tablet is actually getting some use now!

I hope to be launching my new site design soon. I have most of the main pages converted over but I'm missing a lot of the sub-pages like the individual costume pages and such.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

New Blog Design, Excalibur and Lace

I decided to change things up a bit but I couldn't find a premade background to suit me so I made one. I call it "Tools of The Trade". It sounded like a good idea at 3 in the morning. I also made it the new background for my site. I have yet to complete the welcome speech and the text boxes are still subject to change but here's what I have so far:

I measured my Saber figure and Excalibur and used my height to figure out how large my Excalibur would need to be for it to be to scale. It came out to be just over 49 inches. I used the grids in Photoshop to scale up my photograph of the figure's Excalibur then printed it out on several different sheets and pieced them all together.This will serve as my pattern.

I've got most of my supplies collected  for Excalibur. I decided to use a method I've seen used by Blind Squirrel Props and Volpin Props involving sandwiching a threaded rod in the blade and running it through the handle to strengthen it. I marked out the placement for the channel on one of my boards today but the Dremel bit I had just wasn't cutting it. See what I did there? I suspect they may just be worn out as they are the same bits I used to make all the recessed areas on my gunblade. Nothing frustrates me more than not having the proper tool for the job so I hopped on Widget Supply and bought replacements for my Dremel bits along with a few new bits. I decided to try a cylinder carbide cutter for the Dremel and some straight router bits for use with my Rotozip. I got the priority shipping so hopefully they'll be here in time for me to work on Excalibur this coming weekend.

I did a little test sew on some silk organza to see if I could make decent free motion lace on the sewing machine. It didn't look awful but it wasn't as accurate as I'd like either. Then the thought came to me to airbrush it onto the organza. This solves the problems of accuracy, uniformity and shaves off a good deal of time in the bargain. I'm going to test it out with the paint I currently have but once I've satisfied myself that it'll work I think I'm going to go for a pearl paint. Pearl White from Createx and Pearl Sparkle from Aqua Flow are looking good so far. I haven't figured out how to finish up the raw edge on the bottom yet but it'll come to me. Maybe some type of heat seal like a hot knife would work. Fray Check might even do the trick, I'll just have to play with different things.

I bought three sizes of half round stryrene from Hobbylinc so I could see what it was like. It's fairly stiff but with a little bend to it depending on thickness. I put the largest of the three (which I believe was 1/4") into the toaster oven to see if it'd become pliable. I probably left it in there for about 5 minutes total on 300 degrees but I took it out 3 times during that 5 minutes to check on it. The first time I wasn't able to bend it any more than normal, the second time it had more give to it then the third time it was nearly like a strip of clay. I was able to easily bend it into a tight horseshoe shape without any distortion to the styrene. I'm looking forward to trimming something out with this stuff. It comes in sheets as well so I may have to look into getting some to experiment on.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Craft Room

I finally got a few pictures of my craft room. It still needs some work but this is much better than the little corner I had before.

My ponies got banned from the rest of the house so I put up their old shelves again and dubbed this my "wall of happy". All my instructional books for sewing, crafting, drawing and whatnot are on the bookshelf below.

I kept the TV in this room since there isn't a hookup for it in the new bedroom. I've also got my NES and Playstation 2 tucked away in here so I'm good for retro gaming or dvd's. Just having the noise of a TV seems to help me work sometimes. I'm not fond of all the fabric bins being stacked up under the window but I just look at it as encouragement to make something out of it to sell. To that end, I started a cheshire cat set from some of the wicked long pile fur I picked up while working at Hobby Lobby.

I added another set of wall shelves in the corner for my various chemicals and my wig heads finally found a home there also. I've got some "for sale" stuff piled up in a box waiting for their new owners.

Having my table out in the middle of the room is sooo nice. I can get around my entire project now without having to shift it around. I've got my most current projects tucked away in the printer boxes below the table.

I decided to put my clothes rack in here as well since it's basically dominated by costumes anyway. It's nice because if I need to pull something for reference it's right there. The printer boxes have my costume shoes in them.

More shelves containing the various trappings of costuming work. I put up a shelf for my dolls as well so they finally have their own place to live where the cats can't easily get to them. I bought stands for them but some of them were too short for the taller dolls so I modded one for Ian using a curtain rod and epoxy putty. Not too snazzy looking but it works. Willow and Aurora need their stands modded also, that's why they're still sitting.

I've also been hard at work on my new version of I've got many of the main pages done and am now working on individual costume pages. I went through my old link pages and culled out all the dead ones and added some new pages I've found. I did a test transfer of the site to since I didn't have much there yet. I had to work out a few kinks but once I got the hang of it the pages were easy to transfer. Hopefully I can go live with the new version within the month. I'd like to have the majority of my pages set up first, but I'm well on my way. I also ordered a full copy of SiteSpinner since it was about $20 cheaper than normal so I don't have to worry about running out of trial version days anymore. It's a pity it doesn't include some kind of photo gallery coding or at least the ability to put pictures in the scrolling text box. I'm sure I could go in and tweak the code to get it to work but that would defeat the purpose of having the program. On the other hand, the workaround I decided on has the benefit of making the pages load much faster than they would with larger pictures. Plus since only the text scrolls the pictures remain visible at all times instead of having to scroll to the bottom of my text walls to get to them. After it's all said and done SiteSpinner pwns FrontPage so I can't complain too much.

I made some headway on Excalibur and the white lace at the bottom of Saber's dress. More on that in my next post.