I am a plus size woman, I have been most of my life. Cosplay is something that is thought of as a thinner society hobby, but plus size cosplay is growing.
Cosplaying is an interesting hobby for an introvert like myself. It requires me to be out of my comfort zone; channeling a new personality and interacting with strangers.
Every year in the spring, Emerald City Comicon happens. This started out as a small comic book convention in 2003 and now has grown into a large comic/sci-fi/ fantasy/book exhibition spanning over four days at the Washington Convention Center.
We stumbled on it in 2010 when it was just a two day convention. Then, only covering one floor of the Convention Center. I had only dabbled in SciFi and Fantasy and my knowledge of comic books were of a few X-Men ones I read in Junior High. But when I walked onto the 3rd floor of the Washington State Convention Center, I knew I was among my people.
I fell in love with the artists booths, the vendors, the celebrities and the costumes. This was the first time I remember hearing the word “Cosplay”. I saw these people of all shapes and sizes dressing up as their favorite super hero or character. Some wore elaborate costumes which took them months to design and create. And some wore ones that they have purchased. It didn’t matter to me. They were all beautiful. I was a crafty person, I know I could do this.
Kaylee Fry Layer Cake Dress (Firefly)
If you have never heard of Firefly, stop what you are doing and jump on Netflix and watch it right now. It won’t take long, there is only one season *sob*. I’ll wait.
So on episode 6 titled “Shindig”, Mal has to attend a ball to meet someone for a job. He brings along Kaylee, his mechanic, as his date. Kaylee ends up wearing a pink gown that is all frills and layers. I decided to create this dress for my first Cosplay ever.
I scoured the internet looking for stills of her dress and I watched the episode taking notes on what I thought were the fabric and colors. I also searched online for others who have attempted this project. I looked on Amazon to see if they had a dress I could alter, but I did not find what I wanted. I did purchase a large hoop skirt, to be worn under my dress.
My next task was to head to Joann Fabrics and look for what type of material I want to use. I’m a very sensory oriented person. I need to touch and feel everything. Going to Joann’s is a big ordeal for me: so much to touch!
I settled on a white cotton linen as my underskirt and three colors of organza as my layers. I had pink, peach and white. I also picked up a white satin for my top and a box of rose pink Rit dye.
Now came the hard part. I decided to make my under-skirt a circle skirt pattern with an elastic waist. I made sure it was the same length as my hoop skirt and i sewed it together.
Next, I had to cut the organza. This fabric is easy to tear so I just measured out six inch strips and tore away. I then sewed these strips into one long strip. I now had three very long strips of organza. On the under-skirt I used a pencil to draw where the layers wee to be sewn. In hindsight, I should have done this before I made the skirt. It would have been so much easier.
I ruffled the organza and proceeded to sew it onto the under-skirt. I began with the pink first on the bottom. I did four layers of each color. My skirt was finished.
I needed a pattern for my top so I chose a wedding dress pattern that had a top that I liked. I used the satin (which I had dyed pink first) to create top. I hand sewed buttons down the front and glued the ribbon on with fabric glue. The sleeves required tassels on them. These I made our of pink doily yarn and I hand sewed them on as well.
The final touches were a pink purse, pink elbow length gloves and a pink hair ribbon. These I was able to get at Michaels and Amazon. I also purchased a ridiculous pair of pink heels that ended up killing my feet, but they were adorable! The second day I wore this dress I ended up wearing my tennis shoes.
I received a lot of compliments on this dress. It is one that I wouldn’t mind remaking. By the end of the day, my hips were aching from the weight of the skirt. I would want to remake this a s full length dress and use much lighter material.
I did win an award for this dress at a “Serenity Now” fundraiser event. I really didn’t have much competition though.
Little Sister Bioshock 1 & 2
My husband is a huge video game connoisseur. I don’t play them much, but I do enjoy watching the story lines in the ones he plays.
One of the games he plays is called Bioshock. This game takes place in a dystopian universe. There is a group of characters in it called “Little Sisters”. Here is what a Little Sister is ( http://bioshock.wikia.com/wiki/Little_Sister )
“Little Sisters (originally named as Gatherers by the game developers) are young girls who have been genetically altered and mentally conditioned to reclaim ADAM from corpses around Rapture. Little Sisters are almost always accompanied by a Big Daddy. They generally are immune to damage, outside of being “harvested”, and have no offensive abilities. Attacking them, however, will incur the wrath of their Big Daddy protectors.”
I wanted something new to wear to a con, so I chose to make myself a Little Sister. I first needed a child-like dress. Again, I turned to Amazon but it failed me again. So off to Joanns to look at sewing patterns I went.
I ended up getting an Alice in Wonderland dress pattern. I had to change the collar and the apron, but it would work. I couldn’t find a fabric that I liked, so I purchased a white cotton and a box of gray Rit dye. I also chose a white fabric with blue flowers to use as an apron.
I dyed the white fabric in a big pot on my stove telling my husband I was getting his school uniform ready. (Harry Potter reference)
Once the dress was finished, I needed the accessories. I wanted to make the ADAM syringe, but after reviewing the Cosplay Policies on the Emerald City Comicon website, I knew it wouldn’t be allowed due to the fact that I was planning on using metal and wood to make it. I settled on making a Big Daddy doll instead.
This was kind of fun. We hit up Value Village and found a baseball for 99 cents. I also found a couple things at Home Depot to use as the face mask and other items. I sewn a fabric body I had my daughter make onto the base ball. I got the doll dirty using coffee grounds and it was done. (I also used coffee grounds to make my dress look dirty) (Oh and lots of fake blood, too)
I purchased white contact lenses from http://www.pinkyparadise.com. They specialize in contacts for people with dark eyes. They also do prescription lenses. They have an amazing selection. They are overseas, so do plan your ordering long in advance.
I used charcoal colored eye shadow and light face powder to make me look dead like. I thought the overall look was spot on. Sadly, no one knew who I was. Most people assumed I was a zombie child.
Yuna Final Fantasy X
This cosplay I got to use my painting skills. Yuna is a character from Final Fantasy X. I honestly don’t know much about her, just that she summons things and sings. I just liked the way she looked. (And it is one of my husbands’ favorite games.)
This cosplay also involved a lot of research. Again, I scoured the internet looking for stills and the such to see exactly what I needed. My husband had a 5 inch figure of Yuna so I used it as a reference point as well. I took notes, noting all of her accessories, colors, accoutrements, and colors.
I headed to my local Value Village to look for any long blue skirts that may work, but there were nothing I could use. I ended up buying a dark blue cotton fabric from Joanns to create my skirt. Yuna wears a box pleat skirt and I had no idea how to do this. Hello internet search. I also called my mom to see if she could help me. I failed at making a box pleat, so I settled on hoping no one would notice.
I printed a close up of the pattern on her skirt and drew a grid on it. I then used a white colored pencil and drew a grid on my skirt. Using the same pencil, I drew where the flowers and leaves would go. This turned out to be a pain in the ass. So I ended up free handing it. It turned out quite nice. I used fabric paint to paint the flowers and leaves.
The next thing I tackled was her sleeves. I fiddled around with white fabric and came up with a game plan. I cut four L shaped pieces and created the sleeved. I added elastic to the upper part and glued blue ribbon around it as well. I picked up pink Rit dye and dyed the bottom of the sleeves in an ombre pattern.
Her top was a bit difficult. Trying to find the right look where there wasn’t too much fabric around my neck was a challenge. Also trying to make sure the length is long enough. In hindsight, I should have used a long white, flowy scarf to make her top. I picked up a black bikini top at Target to complete the top.
My next challenge was her obi. I researched online to learn how to make an obi. I found out that a traditional obi is many feet long. I wanted something simple. I ended up making a wide belt like band and closed it with a zipper. I then made a bow using the same yellow fabric which I then attached with snaps. I drew the pattern on with a pencil and hand painted the designs on the obi and bow.
Now that the outfit was complete, I needed to make the accessories. Yuna wears a flower pendant necklace which I was able to find on Ebay. She also wears a flower ring and two bracelets. I used my wedding band as the ring and the two bracelets I made out of blue and silver beads. Yuna wears a long beaded earring and has a beaded belt around her obi. I attempted to make these beads with Model Magic, but they ended up being too heavy. Instead, I used straws that I painted and a couple of plastic beads that looked similar. Instead of having an earring, I attached it to a small clip which I clipped behind my ear.
Her belt around the obi had a large ornament to hold it together. Again, I tried the Model Magic, but it was too weak. I then made it out of foam core, which worked fantastic. I attached this to the belt with clips that were glued to the back.
I found a suitable wig on Amazon and purchased one blue and one green contact from http://www.pinkyparadise.com . I purchased black combat style boots from Target.
The final thing I needed to make was her summoning staff. She has many staffs she uses, so I chose the easiest one to make. I drew the design on foam core and cut it out with a blade. I painted it and fashioned a base out of wooden spools to attach it to my wooden dowel. On the bottom of the staff I screwed in a eye hook and tied a bell to the end.
I wore this cosplay again last year, but I changed it a bit. I used an old pair of jeans and painted them instead of a skirt and I remade the obi since I had gained weight since the last time I wore it.
Elizabeth Bioshock Infinite
Elizabeth comes from the video game Bioshock Infinite. I decided to make her because I wanted to have a couples cosplay with my husband. He was Booker DeWitt and I was Elizabeth. (We met Troy Baker dressed as these two, he voiced Booker in the game)
I chose a dark blue fabric to make her skirt and bolero jacket. I purchased a white corset with black stripes from Amazon for her top. Her wig and black boots were purchased from Amazon as well. I ordered a choker from Etsy, but it did not arrive in time. So instead I made one from black ribbon and a cameo brooch. The final touch was a thimble which Elizabeth wears on her pinky because it was cut off when she was a baby.
We got a lot of compliments from fellow cosplayers on this one.
Ariel Kiss The Girl –The Little Mermaid
This is my most recent cosplay. I just finished making it for the 2017 Emerald City Comicon.
I began by searching images from the movie on what colors her dress was. There were conflicting results, but I settled on a teal blue skirt, a black corset and a white long sleeved shirt.
I used a circle skirt pattern for the skirt. I used the same material for the hair ribbon. I also made a cinch purse as I did not add pockets in the skirt and I will need someplace to keep my phone and ID.
I ordered the corset from Amazon as well as the white shirt and long red hair. I will wear a pair of my black flats with it. This was a fairly easy cosplay and I am looking forward to wearing it this year. The best part? Ariel doesn’t have her voice when she is wearing it, so that means I don’t have to talk to anyone!
This cosplay was originally made for a 90’s themed costume party. I ordered my pleated skirt from Etsy, purchased my orange shirt from Fred Meyer, I had the green jacket already and the boots as well. I purchased the glasses and wig from Amazon.
I got a lot of compliments from this one and ended up wearing it at the following Comicon.