Wendy Darling from Peter Pan

I have loved Wendy Darling since I was a toddler- although, truth be told, I discovered her first through the Mary Martin version of Peter Pan. After that came the book, then the live action movie, then the Cathy Rigby version of Peter Pan (which I actually saw live when I was eighteen, and I bawled the whole time), and then the Disney Peter Pan. And all that being said, I adore Wendy. She’s one of my favorite literary characters of all time.

I had wanted to cosplay as Wendy for literally years, and I finally bit the bullet for Akaicon in 2016. I just knew that I wanted a very specific look- I wanted a full circle skirt, I didn’t want a back closure, I wanted puff sleeves without a cuff, and I wanted a lightweight cotton.

But of course I started with bloomers. And of course I trimmed the bloomers with eyelet, because that’s who I am as a person.

I heavily adapted the bodice of Simplicity 1873, making it a wide boatneck, eliminating the darts in favor of gathering the front of the bodice, and making it one solid piece in the back instead of a closure. I wasn’t fully happy with the fit, but it looked nice.

Luckily Simplicity 1873 had the perfect sleeve pattern. The sleeve is pleated at the hem and fully lined, so it doesn’t need a cuff or elastic. The puff sleeve is also very small and delicate like this, which I think is more Wendyish.

I cut the skirt as a full circle. If you watch the movie, you can see that there’s a lot of fullness in the skirt, and too often (even in the parks) her dress is cut as plain, slightly gathered panels. I wanted the fullness, so full circle it was.

Photo from SPN Creatives

My friend Amber made my bow, and I got an acorn kiss necklace from a site called Whosits and Whatsits!

The first time I wore the costume, I styled my own hair and…it wasn’t great. Wendy has a very specific hairstyle but I couldn’t afford a $100+ wig at the time. So it was okay, but it could have been better.

The second time I wore it was for Not So Scary with my family in 2018. This time I wore a long soft tulle skirt underneath for a little extra coverage (the cotton is so thin you could see the waistband of my bloomers!) and I incorporated my short hair extensions, affectionately nicknamed the Honey Badger.

The first time I wore black ballet flats from the kids section of Target, but for Not So Scary I wore white lacy ankle socks and my black Capezio character shoes, and once it got dark I switched the heels for black converses. So much more comfortable!

I do plan on remaking this costume. I’d like to make the bodice more fitted to suit my body type, and maybe with pearl buttons on the back. But I’ll definitely use the same sleeve pattern and the circle skirt again.

Eleven Cosplay from Stranger Things

Listen, Stranger Things debuted in the summer of 2016 and I was ON THAT BANDWAGON as soon as it happened. I literally sat in my car after Seussical rehearsal for twenty minutes because I had been watching the last episode during breaks and I needed to see how it ended. Needless to say, I wanted to cosplay as Eleven for Akaicon that year.

I decided to buy most of my pieces and alter them. The pink dress from from Poshmark- a really great app for secondhand clothes- and I took it for a better fit and hemmed it, since the original dress was a high-low hem. I also used some white fabric from my stash to make a peter pan collar.

The oversized windbreaker was about $4 on eBay and the striped kneesocks came from Amazon. It was super hard to find just the right green and yellow striped socks, and of course they now sell the correct socks in Target in a whole line of Stranger Things licensed products. Oh, well. The tan high tops also came from Poshmark and were brand new, never been worn.

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The wig was a little bit of a struggle. My sister let me borrow an old blond wig, but it was extremely long and I had to pin it up with bobby pins. Eventually she told me it didn’t matter and I could cut it, so I gave myself a haircut in the hotel bathroom and it was so much easier to deal with!

I also got a great little photoshoot with a friend of mine, Gerard from SPN Creatives, who does really great cosplay shoots. And I took some photos with my friend Jessica, who has an amazing Joyce cosplay (she really looks like Winona Ryder!)

Eleven has become one of my go-to closet costumes, and Shane said he’ll be Mike the next time I do it. He even got a calculator watch!

(Photo Credits to Gerard from SPN Creatives)

Tina Belcher from Bob’s Burgers

I have to preface this by saying that I was Tina Belcher when I was a child. For proof, please enjoy this photo of me as an eight year old. I’m at a petting zoo. Petting a goat.

When I was getting ready to attend my first Akaicon, I wanted to bring an easy but recognizable costume. Tina Belcher was a no brainer! I was already most of the way there.

I didn’t make any of the pieces for this costume. I got a light blue tee shirt and black knock off Converse sneakers from Walmart (both from the little boy’s section) and pulled a navy Forever 21 skirt and white knee socks out of my closet. The big yellow barrette was ordered from eBay and the black wig was a gift from my sister (she’s a semi-professional cosplayer and this was one she didn’t need anymore).

I also carried around a composition notebook to be my “erotic friend fiction” book. Oh…and the glasses were my own. Because of course they were.

I also might have worn the cosplay again the following year…this time for the risqué competition. That’s a whole ‘nother story (comment below if you want to hear it!) but I switched up my look to be more like Tina in the episode where Tammy gives her a makeover.

Amy March from Little Women

This dress didn’t begin life as Amy March. It just kind of…happened.

Picture it: my junior year of college, 2000 and something. My English literature class was doing group projects, and mine decided to do an Oprah-type interview of Jane Austen. Who was selected to play Jane Austen? Me! But I needed a costume.

I ran to Joann’s and grabbed Butterick 6630, their regency-era pattern, and whipped it up in white muslin. I mostly followed the pattern to the letter, although the laced back was a little tricky- I ended up using little white eyes for the loops instead of messing with punching eyelets. I also added a little bit of eyelet to the sleeve cuffs and added a full lining to the skirt, also trimmed with eyelet (I’m always a slut for eyelet). I pulled my hair back in a loose knot, added a pair of black ballet slippers, and it made for a pretty decent Jane Austen costume!

Flash forward to Akaicon 2016. I was planning on attending the masquerade, but I didn’t have a ballgown cosplay completed. And I was running out of time fast (and money- the yardage for ballgowns ain’t cheap). I played around with a couple of options but ended up pulling my white Jane Austen dress out of storage and set to work with a different literary character in mind.

In the book Little Women there’s a scene in the second half where Amy, the youngest sister, is preparing to go to a ball. She ends up taking a hand-me-down white ballgown, adds tulle and some flowers, and goes to the ball without anyone suspecting that she’s wearing someone else’s old dress. In fact, it’s that scene where she runs into Laurie again and…well, I would say spoiler alert but the book was published in the 1880s. But it’s a great scene. Amy’s a great character (not in the beginning, I know, but she grows up to be awesome) and I thought the scene would the perfect setup for an (admittedly obscure) amazing cosplay for the masquerade.

It must be recorded of Amy that she deliberately prinked that night. Time and absence had done its work on both the young people. She had seen her old friend in a new light, not as ‘our boy’, but as a handsome and agreeable man, and she was conscious of a very natural desire to find favor in his sight. Amy knew her good points, and made the most of them with the taste and skill which is a fortune to a poor and pretty woman.

Tarlatan and tulle were cheap at Nice, so she enveloped herself in them on such occasions, and following the sensible English fashion of simple dress for young girls, got up charming little toilettes with fresh flowers, a few trinkets, and all manner of dainty devices, which were both inexpensive and effective. It must be confessed that the artist sometimes got possession of the woman, and indulged in antique coiffures, statuesque attitudes, and classic draperies. But, dear heart, we all have our little weaknesses, and find it easy to pardon such in the young, who satisfy our eyes with their comeliness, and keep our hearts merry with their artless vanities.

“I do want him to think I look well, and tell them so at home,” said Amy to herself, as she put on Flo’s old white silk ball dress, and covered it with a cloud of fresh illusion, out of which her white shoulders and golden head emerged with a most artistic effect. Her hair she had the sense to let alone, after gathering up the thick waves and curls into a Hebe-like knot at the back of her head.

“It’s not the fashion, but it’s becoming, and I can’t afford to make a fright of myself,” she used to say, when advised to frizzle, puff, or braid, as the latest style commanded.

Having no ornaments fine enough for this important occasion, Amy looped her fleecy skirts with rosy clusters of azalea, and framed the white shoulders in delicate green vines. Remembering the painted boots, she surveyed her white satin slippers with girlish satisfaction, and chasseed down the room, admiring her aristocratic feet all by herself.

“My new fan just matches my flowers, my gloves fit to a charm, and the real lace on Aunt’s mouchoir gives an air to my whole dress. If I only had a classical nose and mouth I should be perfectly happy,” she said, surveying herself with a critical eye and a candle in each hand.

In Amy-ish fashion, I dug around to see what I had in my costume supplies, and lo and behold, I found a set of white Ikea Lill curtains, still in their packaging. Basically I had a panel of soft, already hemmed tulle. I cut up the curtains to make a multilayered tulle skirt and added a waistband and a hook and eye and voila! The addition of the long tulle skirt made my simple muslin dress look dreamy.

It wasn’t quite complete though, so I added a blue satin ribbon sash, a blonde wig (the same one I wore for Eleven), and a flower crown from Claire’s. My boots are a beautiful pair of ivory high heeled Seychelles Romance boots that look gorgeous but HURT. I was relieved I was only wearing them for the masquerade because wow, so much pain.

I have a couple of (awkward) photos in the costume, and while no one knew who I was, I was really happy with how it turned out. The fit could have been better and it could have been a little fancier, but for a costume I only wore for two hours it worked really well!

Astrid Hofferson from How to Train Your Dragon

The only way I can describe this is “Princess Astrid.” Really.

I love How to Train Your Dragon, so for Not So Scary in 2015 I decided to make a costume inspired by her. Her full outfit was going to be impractical, especially for Florida (faux fur! Leather! weaponry!) so I designed a one piece dress reminiscent of Astrid using my trusty Simplicity 1873 as a base.

The bodice is made of a red brocade that I bought online. Sadly it is far too shiny in person and I wasn’t happy with it at all. I also wasn’t happy with the faux lacing- the neckline sits too high and the waistline sits too low, making me seem lumpy and uneven. The sleeves were fairly simple though; I used cream cotton from my stash and stitched on brown ribbon to look like the lacing of her arm guards.

The skirt was a brown cotton that I originally purchased for my Vanellope Von Schweetz cosplay (although I found a much better fabric later). I used a wide burlap ribbon to cover the waist and stitched stripes of narrow burlap ribbon onto the skirt to look like the fur and leather panels. I tracked down skull buttons on Ali Express that literally arrived at the last possible second.

The headband was a length of brown twill belting with elastic stitched to the center, and I wore navy Walmart leggings and my Rocketdog boots. Super classy, eh?

Here’s where I really messed up, though. Because…I’m a procrastinator. A really dreadful procrastinator. I waited until the day of Not So Scary to get started on my project. And I slept in too. And also I was working on my friend’s Belle costume, which I hadn’t completed either. I am literally THE WORST. I cried. Often. And I wasn’t happy with the final products of either cosplay. But oh well. We still made it to Be Our Guest on time (so Bri got to eat at the castle while dressed as Belle) and we still had a great time at the party. Will I wear my Astrid dress again? Not without significant changes. But at least we had a good time!

Genderbent Kristoff Bjorgman

So I sewed a young Elsa cosplay instead of the ice dress or the coronation dress, right? So of course I’d make one of those next.

Nope.

I made a genderbent cosplay of Kristoff’s outfit from Frozen Fever. As one does.

So I was going to the 24 Hour Day in Magic Kingdom with my friend Carrie and we were debating about what to wear (because of course you have to dress up!) She ended up being the Sven to my Kristoff and it was the most magical thing.

I’m sure you’ll be shocked about which pattern I used- Simplicity 1873! Seriously, so versatile. So great.

I used sportswear fabric (sturdy with a bit of stretch) for both the bodice and the skirt; the skirt is a nice simple A-line. The neckline and armscyes are edged in bias tape rather than a full lining (too hot for that!) and I wore the same blouse I used for my young Elsa cosplay underneath, rather than making the collar and sleeves. The sash was a length of maroon fabric stitched together to make an extremely wide long panel long enough to tie and drape. The best part was busting out the embroidery options on my machine- I never use them, but they worked so beautifully on the bodice. I might have used too much embroidery, actually.

For 24-Hour Day, I wore a pair of black T-strap flats from Blowfish (which were amazing, but I wore them out and I can’t find a replacement pair and ergo am devastated) and my custom made Kristoff bow from Ever After Bowtique. Simple, but effective. I also stuffed my Malco Modes petticoat under there, because of course I did.

I pulled the costume out again for my first Akaicon in 2015. The basic costume stayed the same, but I styled it differently. The biggest change was wearing my pale blonde Arda wig instead of using my own hair; I added a gray knitted beret from Claire’s too. It seemed very Kristoffesque.

I also skipped the simple flats and went with the more Kristoff-appropriate option of gray tights from Target and my black Seychelles Gallium boots (also the same ones from my young Elsa cosplay).

I also eliminated the petticoat and added my eyelet-trimmed Wendy Darling bloomers instead. While I truly love my petticoats, they’re not always necessary, and this cosplay definitely looked cuter and more character-appropriate with just the circle skirt. And look how cute the bloomers are with the lace peeking out under the hem!

I haven’t pulled this one out in a long time, but maybe there’ll be another great time to cosplay as everyone’s favorite weirdo ice harvester

Cinderella’s Rags

Why are these rags so pretty? I’ve always wondered that, even as a kid. Maybe it’s the color combination- the warm golden brown, the chocolate brown, the robin’s egg blue. There’s just something appealing about it.

I decided to make my Cinderella rags cosplay for Not So Scary in 2014. What pattern did I use? If you guessed my trusty Simplicity 1873, you are correct! It’s just the best fit and flare pattern there is. I used all cottons, mostly because I couldn’t find any linens that were the right color. If I ever go back and remake this dress, I’ll use a wider range in fabric textures. The skirt was cut as a half circle and I added pockets- really deep pockets, because if I’ve learned anything from my Not So Scary trips it’s that I NEED POCKETS. I mean, I had my car keys, my phone, and my umbrella in that bitch.

The first time I tried on the bodice, it was too small. This is why I always pin the zipper and test the bodice before I add sleeves or the skirt! Luckily I had enough fabric left to add gores at the sides, and that was all I needed.

The apron was a hemmed rectangle of white cotton pleated onto a waistband (super simple) and I wore black ballet flats from Target and a royal blue ribbon in my hair. My hair was surprisingly easy. I curled my bangs back from my forehead with a 1” curling iron and pinned the perfectly formed curl into place; the rest of my hair was curled, teased, and tied into a low ponytail. I was also very pleased with my makeup (although I can’t remember what products I used!)

I also made a Fairy Godmother costume for my friend Song using the same pattern. The dress was a plain blue, but the short cloak was self drafted. If I remember correctly, the cape part was cut in one circular piece; the cape and hood were both lined in pink and I added the big maroon ties in the front to make the bow.

I wore the Cinderella costume again for Akaicon 2015; I wanted a simple and comfortable cosplay for Sunday so I pulled this one out of retirement. This time I added my beloved Malco Modes petticoat, white gave just enough softness and fullness. My friend Kimberly also took some gorgeous photos of the costume, and my sister lent me her Cinderella mice toys (from a playset I bought her for her sixth birthday!)

Also I got to meet Jason Mardsen in this dress and I got super shy and he was literally the nicest and his chin scruff touched my shoulder when he hugged me and it was the best okay bye.