Sunday, September 8, 2013

Costume Creation: Girl Stinky

I'm getting ready for Dragon*Con, and the costume I'm making is Girl Stinky from one of the later Sam and Max games.

Shirt: mail ordered from Amazon in a plum or eggplant color.
Pants: after a ton of looking online and in person, I managed to find some violet pants just a little heavier than leggings. The color isn't exact, but it's close enough.

Shoes: I couldn't find dark purple pumps to fit me anywhere. So I got a pair of plasticky pumps that fit, painted them with Mod Podge, and painted over that with a mixture of eggplant-colored acrylic paint and textile medium (half and half, to make it flexible).

It probably took five coats to hide most of the brush strokes, and I couldn't dig all the cat hair and dust out of the layers, but the odds are good that no one will notice. The final step was two coats of a spray enamel, because the paint was a little sticky even when dry.

Crown and bracelets: I started with a metal tiara, taped paper to it, and traced the shape. Then I held the reference image in front of me on the phone and drew the design on as best I could. Half the swirls, then transferred the pencil to the opposite side, then freehanded the horse in the middle.

I didn't want to paint these (made of craft foam) more than necessary, so I didn't want to put any pencil on it. It won't erase, and the marker I would use to go over the design would be translucent, so I transferred the pattern by putting the paper on top of the foam and poking holes along the pencil lines. Then connected the dots with the marker.

Same basic idea with the bracelets, although they weren't as intense.

The crown foam was glued to the tiara and the bracelets got velcro closures.

Unfortunately, the crown is lumpy and too big. So I made a second version at about 2/3 this size, and planned to clip it directly to the wig.

Apron: This and the wig are the things that caused me the most anxiety. I'm still new to the sewing machine, and there are so many ways I can mess up a time-consuming process of putting the fish tail on the fabric, especially since I was planning to include a fish-tail-shaped pocket to carry my essentials (ID, money, phone/camera) at the convention.

From the game character skins. Apparently you can download those, and it's super helpful.

I went through a lot of trial and error with colors and media. I liked the pre-made colors and control of pastels and crayons, but they didn't go into the weave of the fabric and looked like a kid's drawing on rough paper. So I bought a bunch of ¥100-yen-store acrylic paints and used almost an entire bottle of textile medium to mix six colors and paint them on the fabric. With surprisingly good results.

1: paper pattern
2: canvas with pencil outline and scales
3: blue-green paint
4: green paint
5: dark green paint, slight white wash in center
6: white highlights, scales darkened with pencil (hard to see at this size), purple added

The painted part is the front layer, the back of the pocket and ribbon are the back layer, sewn on about an inch from the edge. This is so the back layer is keeping it to my body, and I can lift the front layer open the pocket.
Details you can't see: blue-green thread sewn into the ribbon and hand-stitched around the outline of the fish (the machine had trouble moving the paint-sticky layer and the plan canvas layer at the same speed), purple thread along the purple edges, lime green thread along the green edges. At this point, I am very comfortable with winding bobbins and threading my sewing machine.

Necklace and earrings: I tried getting real seashells and gluing cheap earrings inside, but they were too heavy and from a distance just looked like white blobs. So I carved both the sand dollar and cartoony seashell shapes from a fairly light clay, sanded them smooth, and painted them white.

The blue and white stripes on the earrings are acrylic paint. The pearls are wooden beads painted white twice then coated in a pearlescent nail polish. The sand dollar is a white base, then I drew a star shape on paper, put masking tape over it, traced the masking tape and cut the shape out, and placed it in the center (or close to it) of the disc. The gray is from a soft art pencil scribbled and smudged around the center until it more or less looks right. The tape was peeled up, the darker accents were added, and I sprayed it with a sealant so it wouldn't smudge any more.

After spending what felt like a hundred years on customizing a wig (from Arda Wigs, and the quality is good, but turning a wig with bangs into a wig with a bare hairline is not easy), I ended up with something that works well enough for photos, even if the ponytail is a little loose in the back and the hairline in the front is a little thin.

Test run, without wig

Final, with wig and smaller crown
Details you can't really see: heavy eyeliner, blue eyeshadow, purple lip gloss, and green brush-in color over eyebrows.

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