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!

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.

“Are you Blonde Belle?” (no.)

Let’s go back to an earlier, simpler time. Fall of 2014. The Frozen craze is at its height. I’m going to Not So Scary, and do I have the time to make Elsa’s ice gown? Or her coronation gown? Absolutely not, I’m a procrastinator. So I settle for young Elsa.

(Source: Britt Myers Art)

I was already off to a pretty good start. I had a Forever 21 blouse in the correct color with the correct collar already, plus I had white gloves, white tights, a black headband, and a pale blonde Arda wig (from my yet-to-be-completed Alice in Wonderland cosplay). I also swapped out the black ballet flats for my black Seychelles Gallium ankle boots. Pretty much I was just looking at the dress.

I used a navy knit from my stash from the bodice; using a knit meant I could eliminate the zipper, and the fit was a lot more comfortable and forgiving. I pretty much just cut rectangles and pinned and stitched until it was a good fit. Originally the skirt was made out of the same knit, but it was too dark and too heavy, so I pulled a medium blue cotton from my stash and made a simple dirndl skirt (plus pockets- you always need pockets, especially for Not So Scary.

Elsa’s dress has a lot of really beautiful embroidery, but did I mention that I’m a procrastinator?

I ended up bringing my Elsa Disney Animator’s Collection doll to Joann’s with me so I could match her embroidery to embroidered ribbon. That’s right, I was that crazy lady walking around in public with a doll. But in the end, I found a great scalloped black trim for the hem, a pretty burgundy satin ribbon, and two kinds of embroidered ribbon in the right colors. Worth it, I guess? Oh, and I also used a navy satin ribbon as a sash.

The floral shape on the bodice turned out to be a nightmare. Originally I cut the petals from fabric and I planned to satin stitch them on as appliques. My sewing machine, it turns out, did not agree. At the last second, I used black fabric paint and traced around the edges; it simulated a stitched edge while also attaching the petals to the bodice. It’s not great, and I fully plan on changing it at some point in the future, but it could be a lot worse.

(Speaking of a lot worse, I hadn’t learned about wig caps. As such, the wig situation was a mess the whole night. Yikes.)

The only real downside to this cute, comfortable, on-trend costume…was that no one knew who I was. All night people asked me if I was blonde Anna or blonde Belle. What a let down. At least Anna and Elsa knew who I was.

All in all, I call this one a win. I really want to pull it out again at some point, especially since my sister is getting me the Sir Jorgenbjorgen plush for Christmas this year. Or maybe I’ll be crazy and remake the whole thing.

Do you want to build a snowman?

Princess Eilonwy from The Black Cauldron

So few people remember Eilonwy. It’s sad, but true. The Black Cauldron came out in 1985 and it wasn’t well-received then, and it hasn’t become a cult classic. As a sixth grader I read all of the books and loved them, and was honestly kind of disappointed in the movie. But I still loved Eilonwy, so she popped to mind when I was planning for my first Not So Scary party of the year in 2015!

 photo IMG_7161_zpsavb9urcs.jpg

I started with Simplicity’s saloon girl pattern, 2851 (now out of print) for the bodice. I’d used it once when making my short Snow White dress and thought it would be a good match. I used a sturdy black broadcloth and used red single fold bias tape for the detailing. The sleeves were from a cream cotton and I honestly can’t even tell you what pattern I used. What I can say…is that something went horribly wrong. I still can’t even describe it. One sleeve went on perfectly. The other sleeve turned out to be a demon from hell. No matter what I did, the sleeve was twisted and it made that side of the bodice twisted. I let the sleeve out, I took the sleeve in, I cut down the armscye, I cut down the shoulder…it would. not. work. It was literally an hour before I was supposed to leave, and the damn thing was unwearable. So what did I do? I ran across the street to Walmart, bought a boy’s black tee shirt and new bias tape, cut the shirt into the proper shape, stitched on bias tape, attached the sleeves from the old bodice, and bam! Wearable Eilonwy. It wasn’t fantastic, but it worked!

 photo IMG_7209_zpsghxw9z7m.jpg

The skirt, luckily, was much easier. I cut and sewed pale pink cotton into a dirndl skirt layer (with pockets) and then used a rose colored fabric cut into a circle panel over the top, leaving about a two inch gap between the edges of the panel where it was sewn over the pale pink layer. I used the rose fabric to make a casing for an elastic waistband. It works fine, but the fabric is heavy enough to make the skirt slide when it’s worn. I’m either going to remake the waistband to make it fasten with hooks and eyes, or, when I remake the bodice, add snaps so that the skirt can snap into the bodice. Honestly, I’ll probably do both just to make sure they stay in place!

 photo IMG_7110_zpsw20c0moe.jpg

I didn’t want to wear a wig for this cosplay- I’ve only worn a wig once for Not So Scary and it was the WORST (thanks for being a swamp, Florida). I bought a set of super cheap extensions on eBay instead. Are they quite the right color? No, but they’re close enough, and I’m rather fond of my cheap eBay weave. I curled the rest of my hair and brushed my hair and the extensions together to blend them a little, and pinned a length of black trim from Joann’s around my head to look like Eilonwy’s black circlet.

 photo IMG_7166_zpsfpcvrzzz.jpg

My favorite part was the bauble! I bought a clear plastic Christmas ornament from Amazon Prime (and bought another one when the first one was too small, and then forgot to cancel my subscription so after the free trial I still had Prime, oops) and painted it with sparkly yellow acrylic craft paint. On the inside I wrapped a length of battery-operated Christmas lights with yellow tulle and put the whole thing inside the ornament. It was a little bit of a hassle to pop the ornament open and closed every time I wanted to use the lights, but it was worth it!

 photo IMG_7199_zps25hfm9qd.jpg

I brought back Eilonwy for Akaicon 2016 and ended up entering her in the cosplay competition. I didn’t win, but honestly I just wanted more experience with judging and walking in the contest before I entered it seriously. I had a lot of fun, and I’m planning my entry for Akaicon 2017 now!

 photo IMG_1562_zpsjrvfgvka.jpg

 photo IMG_1462_zpsf326a81y.jpg

 photo 14205925_10205371669369988_5089254478645880638_o_zps8m34ufqd.jpg