Akaicon 2019

I don’t get out much. I can’t help it, I’m elderly. But my sister has been the mascot for Akaicon back home in Nashville, so if I’m going to attend a con, you can bet it’s going to be hers.

And if I’m going to a con, I’m going to cosplay.

I had very little time for this trip, since I had to fit it into my Noises Off rehearsal schedule without missing anything. Luckily we didn’t have rehearsal on Friday, so I flew from Orlando to Nashville super early on Friday morning. My dad picked me up and drove me to the con, and I immediately changed into my first cosplay.

I made two big projects and two small ones, with a medium one packed just in case. My first big project was Lydia Deetz from Beetlejuice…but the broadway show. It was difficult to make since there were so few references, but I was really pleased with how it came out, even though no one knew who I was. I had planned on ordering the Handbok for the Recently Deceased purse from Hot Topic before the storm but it was out of stock. Ironically, it came back in stock that day. While I was at the con. Oh well.

The next day was the cosplay competition and I entered my 1840s inspired Elsa. I wasn’t exactly happy with how this one turned out- I was on a major time crunch and I wasn’t able to make it as detailed as I would like. And I just have to face facts that Akai is an anime-centric con, not a general nerd con, so Disney isn’t a very big deal and no one knew who I was. But I did get some really nice photos taken by Remilia Photography.

I finished the day with comfy Elsa from Wreck It Ralph 2, mostly so I didn’t have to change the wig or the makeup. My sister made the shirt; the leggings were from Target’s Joy Lab line and the sneakers were from Payless (RIP).

On Sunday I was planning on wearing my Vanellope cosplay, but I got as far as the leggings and the hoodie before I decided against it. It was just way too hot! July in Nashville isn’t as humid as Orlando but it’s still no joke. So I went with Eleven from the third season of Stranger Things.

More detailed breakdowns of these costumes are coming soon! I had a great time at Akai and I’m already planning to go next year too. Maybe next year I can do the risqué and lip sync competitions, and maybe place in the cosplay competition (I have my cosplay all picked out.)

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.

Charley’s Aunt

Apparently 2018 was the year I did shows that no one else ever does. Charley’s Aunt was written in the 1890s and was incredibly popular then; it even got turned into a musical later on. But…no one ever does it.

It’s super cute though. It’s a fun British farce about a couple of college boys who want to invite their girlfriends over so they can propose, but of course in this era they need a proper chaperone. Originally Charley’s aunt (wow, the name of the show!) was going to chaperone, but she doesn’t show up, so naturally the boys dress up their classmate as the aforementioned aunt. Comedy ensues.

I played Kitty, one of the pretty girls hoping to get engaged. I really liked this show because I got to play a cute ingenue, which I never get cast as, plus I got to use a British accent. However…the show is long. So long. Tremendously long. I think that might be the main factor why it’s rarely produced. The bulk of my scenes were in acts one and two; I spent most of act three in a ballgown sipping brandy and saying “isn’t that lovely!”

Speaking of costumes…guess who made her own costumes again?

This show is set in the 1890s, so I needed a full set of underwear. I made myself a chemise and bloomers, and wore a corset from the costume shop. Unfortunately, because I’m short, the corset was far too long for my torso, but with some creative lacing we made it work.

I wore an afternoon dress for most of the show. White muslin was very popular for wealthy women, but I lined mine in pink for a little extra something, and to make it a little less stark onstage. I used McCall’s 7071 and followed it pretty closely on the bodice, but I used the skirt pattern from Simplicity 2207 for a more simple shape. I didn’t wear extra petticoats or a bustle, but I gathered the dress a little bit more in the back to make it a little more full.

My act three dinner dress was a dream. I bit the bullet and ordered the Phantom of the Opera film pattern from eBay- long discontinued, but absolutely gorgeous and definitely worth it. It made a beautiful off the shoulder neckline. I made it as one piece instead of two, however, and cut the waist straight across instead of into a point. I also added the sleeves from Simplicity 1873. I used a pink polyester from Joann’s Casa Collection and lined it with a cream colored cotton bedsheet from Walmart.

The bustle was sewn the way it the pattern calls for, but I bustled it higher to make sure I didn’t get stepped on (spoiler alert: I still got stepped on. Frequently. The perils of being five foot nothing in a floor length ballgown.)

My favorite part was that my mom came all the way from Nashville to see me! She came to Edwin Drood in the fall, too- but she saw me in the same costumes, because I ended wearing all my Charley’s Aunt pieces for Drood. It worked out!

I’m really glad I ended up doing this show. It went over really well and I had a lot of fun with the other actors- four of us from Wedding Singer went straight from Wedding Singer to Charley’s Aunt, and that made it a really great experience to be with friends. I don’t know if I’ll ever have the chance to do this show again, but if you get the chance at least to see it, go see it!

The Wedding Singer (Again!)

Y’all. You would think I would have learned my lesson from the first time I did Wedding Singer to not costume it again. And yet…here I am.

My director for Evil Dead asked me while I was working on that show if I could costume Wedding Singer. Honestly…I wanted to be in it more than costume it this time. So of course, because it’s me, I ended up costuming and performing in the ensemble!

The great thing about costuming this time around was that I had a great shop to pull from, and I was able to borrow pieces from the first time I did the show. It also helped that this time I had a really clear vision of what I wanted. My first production of Wedding Singer really taught me that you need to know what you want before you really get into pulling and making pieces. Haphazard does not work when you have a massive cast where everyone has at least six costume changes.

201 total, actually. 201 costume changes.

I almost died.

This time I had some parts of the plot that I was really, really proud of. Like…Linda’s wedding dress. The actress already had an affinity for vintage lingerie, so she found a 1980s lace bustier (I filled in the cups to cut down on the nipple visibility; the show is only PG-13 at the absolute most) and I made her a massive poofy high-low hem tulle skirt scattered with red roses. I made her a veil topped with red roses too. I also made her a pink plaid tearaway skirt for “Let Me Come Home.”

I put all the guys in “Single” in mismatched Hawaiian shirts and honestly I was in love with it. The second I found the rack of Hawaiian shirts I was like OH GOD I NEED THESE.

Holly wore the same dress I made for the previous production, the pink swimwear dress, but without a tearaway skirt. I definitely didn’t have time for that this time around.

For “All About the Green” I did the same concept for the ensemble with everyone in matching outfits, but I dressed Glen in a blazer and a green tie that the actor already owned. Robbie’s outfit was a happy accident- I wanted it to look like Robbie was wearing the nicest clothes he owned, and one day the actor playing Robbie showed up to rehearsal wearing this great short sleeve button up with an 80s style Star Wars print. So of course I had him wear it for the show, with khaki pants and a lilac covered tie. It was a perfect contrast.

And of course, I wore a crazy combination of outfits for my own track! First up: a wedding guest/the wedding photographer in the opening number! I added puffy white off the shoulder sleeves to a dress I already owned.

Second: one of the Pop! bridesmaids. I found three identical dresses (apparently donated from a 1980s show choir, not even kidding) and hemmed them up to fit the three shortish bridesmaids so we could safely pop in and out of a bathroom stall (also not even kidding).

Third: Donatella the whiny baby talk bride. This was an absolute blast, especially since I got to wear this crazy satin wedding gown and an equally crazy veil. And then I got to punch Robbie to finish off the number before I stormed offstage wailing. Honestly a blast.

Fourth: a bar mitzvah guest. I wore this awesome drop waist velvet dress with a lace collar. I had most of my next costume underneath it to help with my next change, but I wanted some awkward kids to be guests at the bar mitzvah and it was totally worth it.

Fifth: shopping mall patron. I only wore this costume for about five minutes, but it was my favorite! I made the plaid circle skirt myself and wore my S-Mart Evil Dead shirt as a little hidden tribute (and it worked with the time period, since Evil Dead came out in 1981 and Wedding Singer is supposed to be 1986).

Sixth: a clubber! Okay, I lied, this might have been my favorite costume. I made this insane circle skirt from layers and layers of multicolored tulle. The velvet off the shoulder bodysuit was, of all things, from Target! It was a comfortable outfit to wear especially since it was such an intense dance number (did I also mention I tore my plantar fascia during a rehearsal, and did a 5k and danced through the whole run anyway? I might be a little stubborn.)

(Then we had intermission, which is when I put all my costumes away and took a breather. And luckily I was onstage a lot less in act 2.)

Seventh: Veronica the slutty secretary. A couple of us gave our office worker characters names, and I was given Veronica. And I got to do the Starbucks line in the song, which was fun.

Eighth: travel agent. I wore a black and white pinstriped skirt (which was totally *not* my old gangster costume skirt, of course not) and a royal blue blazer. This was another bit where I was onstage with a new costume for only a few minutes.

(And I don’t have a photo because I literally wore it for 30 seconds.)

Ninth: wedding guest. I brought back the pink rainbow tulle skirt! This time I wore it with a separate top made from Butterick 5695, which is the same pattern I used for Julia’s wedding dress in the first production I costumed. Comment below if you’d like to see an in depth post about my crazy rainbow skirt!

Phew! Nine costume changes, just for me!

Performing wise, I love this show. I love it so much. It’s high energy from start to finish, the characters are lovable, it’s hilarious, and the audience always has a positive reaction. And every ensemble track keeps you busy. I haven’t danced this much in a show in a very long time, and I loved it.

Will I ever costume this show again? Absolutely not. Twice is more than enough. Will I audition for it again? Absolutely! Now that I’ve done an ensemble track I don’t know if I’ll do that again, but I’ll definitely audition for Holly or Julia and see how it goes.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood

No one ever does Edwin Drood. No one. So this was amazing, because not only was this theater finally doing Drood, but the director was super passionate about it, which made it even better.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood is based on Charles Dickens’ last novel, so it truly is a mystery- he died before he completed the book and left no outline or notes, so no one truly knows who he planned to reveal as the murderer. So the musical opens as an immersive play-within-a-play, with all the actors running around the “Music Hall Royale” in preparation for their first production of Drood. The actors are introduced as their various characters, and the musical continues with plenty of winking and nodding and fourth wall breaking. And then, of course, we reach the point in Act 2 when Charles Dickens died and the whole show comes to a screeching halt. The entire fourth wall is gone, and the audience votes on their choice of detective, murderer, and a pair of lovers. The whole second act and finale of the show changes based on who the audience selects- so everyone has to be ready at a moment’s notice to follow the changes, not to mention the crazy amount of audience interaction.

I was cast as Florence, the “head chorine” of the Music Hall Royale. The director gave us a really challenging audition that involved a difficult cold read and improvisation, all with a British accent, and he told me he was really impressed with my audition and gave me a lot of material to do with the show. We started the show at house open with all of us interacting and improvising with the audience, and he had me as the first one to come out. He also put together a little bit together for me and the Music Hall stage manager to do for the intermission; the theater does a 50-50 style raffle so I got to be the one to draw the number and give the money to the winner.

And within the show I had lots to do to do. I was constantly dancing and running back and forth, and this was a very vocally challenging show too. There’s bits of strong character vocals, and also some very pure legit stuff. I got to sing part of the Moonfall Quartet, which is absolutely gorgeous but really difficult!


And I even sang a G5 at the end of “British Subject,” the only soprano who sang that note.

And did I mention I did it all in a corset? We even rehearsed in corsets. Luckily, I did Charley’s Aunt just a month or two before the rehearsal process started for Drood, so I was used to it, but high kicking in an aisle is quite another situation!

I even got to wear my Charley’s Aunt costume again! I had my beautiful pink ballgown again, and I made a little bustle skirt to wear over my white muslin afternoon dress. I’m glad those pieces got some more wear.

All in all, Drood is an absolutely amazing show and I really recommend auditioning for it or going to see it if the (rare) chance arrives. It’s a great stretch of skills for an actor and a really enjoyable and interactive experience for an audience member!

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.

IMG_1414

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)

Dapper Day Fall 2017

I’ve participated in almost every single Dapper Day since it was started, ranging from “let me throw on this cute dress and call it a day” to “let me hand sew my dress and craft my accessories and wear fancy shoes.” This fall’s Dapper Day was kind of in the middle. Now that it’s a two day event, I skipped the first Magic Kingdom day and attended the second day at Epcot.

I wore the dress I made to perform in Kiss Me Kate, which was adapted from Simplicity 1459. It’s a very comfortable dress, although it had been boxed up with the rest of my costumes since the show closed so it was a little wrinkled. Oops! I also wore my Malco Modes chiffon petticoat as well, but I think it’s starting to deflate. Anyone have recommendations for re-fluffing a chiffon petticoat, or where to find a new one?

My shoes were on clearance in the kids’ section of Target and were only $6. The Cat and Jack brand at Target is fantastic- I fit in their shoes and they’re so very cute. I didn’t go with any other accessories really, other than my Alex and Ani bracelets and my Ariel hairbow from Hot Topic. It wasn’t really an Ariel disneybound per se, but the colors of the dress and the colors of the bow matched enough that I went with it.

I’m planning to do a more elaborate ensemble for spring Dapper Day next year…I just need to get started! You might have noticed one particular recurring theme in my sewing posts- I procrastinate. I procrastinate like crazy. I always leave projects until the very last minute, and that has come back to bite me in the butt more than a few times.

I’ve already picked out my big Dapper Day outfit for next spring, and as long as there aren’t any bumps in the road in the next six months, I’ll be Disneybounding as Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables, with my boyfriend as Gilbert Blythe. It’s the dream, you guys.

(Source: anneofgreengables.com)

I know, I know- Anne isn’t a Disney character. But that’s all right. The plan is to make a sweet and simple dress, with puffed sleeves of course! I’ll add black boots and lace trimmed socks, and I’ll freshly dye my hair back to red right before. I’m also going to get a slate, put it on a purse, and write “carrots” on it.

Here’s hoping that I get it all done! Are you already planning your Dapper Day attire? Tell me your ideas in the comments!