I'd been wanting to cosplay something from Star Wars for ages since my family had been huge fans since I was a kid. I had recently read Carrie Fisher's biographies and was inspired to cosplay Leia. I chose her outfit from Endor in Return of the Jedi because, to me, it was really when she started becoming a "general" and I loved the inherently 80s style of her outfit. I was luckily able to get two outfits in one with this cosplay since she wears the rebel uniform and then the later one with the poncho.
To begin, I started with a lace front wig from Arda. I didn't want to sculpt her buns in case I wanted to use the wig later and also because I wanted a more natural look by pinning her hair up. The braids on the top were styled in place and I braided her back two braids. Every time I wear it, I spin the braids in buns and pin them down. The gun was altered out of random materials in the fashion of the original series costume designers who took random knick knacks to create their props.
The pants, poncho, vest, shirt were made from altered patterns. I installed a pants zipper into the bottoms and added the bias tape contrast on the sides. The shirt has facings and little pockets on the sleeves in order to keep it lightweight, yet functional. The vest was interfaced to give it that structured look with multiple seams, as in the references. I built her watch/vest detail with various pieces of thermoplastic. The poncho was sewn and then, to mimic the semi-camo style, was dyed. To do this, I had 4 buckets of different dye and blotched the dye in different sections of the poncho. Afterwards, I distressed it to age the poncho. The belt was dyed as well to get the correct color and the pouches and gun holster were made with soft lambskin.
Photos: Melissa Lee, Hung Ngo
Series: Looney Toons
Debuted: Dragon Con 2014
I thought my South Park costume was pretty dumb, but this one may have taken the cake, haha. My friend Riki had this idea ages ago to make a sexy Elmer Fudd costume to make fun of all the randomly sexified characters and Playboy versions of 'x' character. I think it was last year we all joked about doing the rest of the characters and somehow this weird ass Playboy meets Looney Toons group was born.
I started gathering materials by buying fishnets and black hose. I opted not to wear orange leggings because it seemed really unflattering and matching the leggings to the shoes and the beak I planned on wearing at the time seemed difficult. I bought the same heels I used for my Raven and Sailor Mars costumes for comfort, wiped them down with acetone and painted them orange with acrylics and sealed them with Mod Podge. I made Daffy's white collar the same way we made our Sailor Moon chokers.
The bunny suit itself was probably one of the most difficult things sewing wise I had made as of lately. I scoured the internet for bunny suit tutorials and ended up using an amalgamation of like 20 tutorials and help from my friend Katie. I created my own body pattern using duct tape and saran wrap (delicious). From there, I made 2 mock ups to get the right shape and design. I then made 3 layers: 1 for lining, 1 to attach the boning and channels to and 1 to case all the sausage (more delicious). I ended up with something like 15 boning channels with 3 centered front and 2 back being flat steel boning and the rest being spiral steel boning. I closed all the edges with some black bias tape and called it a day. In the end, through some mistakes, I ended up just adding grommets to lace up the suit for a tighter fit.
The duck tail is made from a foam ball covered in about 5 or so feather hackles to simulate the flip of Daffy's tail. I attached lacing for it to lace up into the grommets of my bunny suit. As for the signs, I cut out 2 pieces of cardboard and spray painted them white. I also sawed a scrap piece of wood in half, painted it brown and sealed it in a lacquer. I researched various texts to find the right one, scaled it to size and painstakingly transferred the text with sharpies. Afterwards, I sealed with matte spray and epoxied the wood handle to the sign.
Photos: Pixelette Photography
The Coon (Cartman)
Series: South Park
Debuted: Big Wow! ComicFest 2014
So this costume came along mostly as a joke to my boyfriend. We were skipping around through episodes of South Park and saw the Coon episode and I was like, 'wouldn't this be the most ridiculous costume ever?'. We googled some pictures of people online that had already made them, but I was like eh, maybe some day. I finally finished my semester of school and I had 2 weeks or so before I moved out to SoCal for my summer internship (and right before Big Wow) so I thought SCREW IT. I'm doing the dumbest costume ever.
The good thing about this costume was that it literally took 2 seconds to make and I had half the wardrobe (pants, belt, boots). I made the bullet casings on the belt out of old thread spools and wonderflex/worbla and the belt buckle out of wonderflex. I bought the jacket and crop top online, made the cape and applique'd the C onto the crop top and cape. To get the image, I made an illustrator file of the logo, scaled it to size, printed it out and cut it out onto the heat n' bond to make the fabric appliques, then stitched them in place. The yellow baubles are cast out of epoxy resin with a back pin to attach the cape to my jacket. I patterned the mask and cut it out of rawhide leather, wet it and molded it to my face. I added a little bit of the fur and covered it in some leftover cowhide. For the ears, I made a worbla headband base, made worbla base ears and covered it in the same fur, lining it in the same cowhide. Both the mask and ears are attached to some black spandex pieces that tie around my head. As for the claws, I crafted them quickly and crappily out of worbla (just as I imagine Cartman would). I found a pattern for a fox tail online, copied it, cut it out of the fur and stuff it with some leftover quilt batting.
Overall, pretty easy and super ridiculous. I couldn't stop cracking up while shooting this costume because it was so insane to me. Because you can cosplay whatever the eff you want, especially if it's a fat little kid dressed up as a raccoon vigilante!
Photos: Jwai Design, Reno B., Hamasuki
Series: The New Teen Titans
Debuted: Pensacon 2014
I've been wanting to cosplay another character from the New Teen Titans (specifically Raven) for years! When my friend Riki came up with the new Cosplay for a Cause charity calendar (superheroes with animals), I thought Raven would be the perfect character! For that shoot, we found an African Pied Crow named Houdini and shot in the woods of east Alabama.
It took me only a few days to sew the garments themselves. I heavily altered some patterns for the dress and cape and cast the brooches and covered them in worbla. The jewelry was also made from worbla and I painted all the pieces with acrylic paint. I used the same contacts from my DH to achieve Raven's powerful look.
Photos: Benny Lee, Melissa Lee
Debuted: Emerald City Comic Con 2013
The wig consists of a Luthien from Arda sewn with a pack of long wefts in a darker color for volume. The floral piece in the hair and wigs is a small strip of Worbla with hot glued flowers and D-rings for attachment. I made the hat from Worbla, covered it in fabric and embellishments, then attached it to a headband. The arm sleeves and leggings are rit dyed. The corset is fully lined with spiral steel boning and laces up in the back. I draped the bustle and collar pieces out of dupioni silk. I made shoe covers for the legging pieces that attach to my corset.
Overall, it was a fairly challenging costume sewing-wise, but I love the colors and I think it’s a very cute design.
Photos: EBK, David Ngo, Long Thai, Ron Gejon
Series: Beauty and the Beast
Debuted: Dragon*Con 2012
I had always wanted to cosplay a Disney princess! My friends were making a group for Dragon*Con and Belle seemed to be the most feasible, creation-wise, to me. While I love Rapunzel, I love Belle because she’s one of the “older”, traditional Disney princesses and her dress makes me feel like a princess!
I completed this costume in about 4 days. The bodice is fully lined with spiral steel boning and laces up in the back. I made a small petticoat lining to go over my 4-hoop crinoline. The skirt portion is just separate panels crazily ruched. I used leftover yellow spandex from my first Rogue costume to make the gloves (which I made too small, go me!). The wig is a Jeannie from Arda. I split it into a half part and made an odango bun from the leftover hair I cut. I curled the hair and styled the bangs.
Photos: BGZ Studios, Benny Lee
Debuted: Dragon*Con 2012
I had always wanted to make Rogue amongst various comic book heroes with bodysuits, but I was always daunted by the task of sewing stretch material. I originally made this costume in 2011, but my spandex skills left much to be desired and I ended up scrapping my costume after 1 wear. My current bodysuit is using God Save the Queen Fashions’ Rogue pattern.
My jacket and belt are made form faux shearling. I altered a pattern to make the jacket. The wig had the bangs of a white wig on top, the hairstyle less of the 80s style and more modern. I made extra knee guards to “elongate” my boots, an idea I got from my friend Hannah’s Rogue costume.
Photos: Anna Fischer, Judy Stephens, Leonard Lee, Benny Lee, Martin Wong, Mineralblu Photography, JwaiDesign Photography
Series: New Teen Titans
Debuted: San Diego Comic Con 2012
I’ve always loved the Teen Titans comics and I loved Donna Troy’s design. Most people tend to do Wonder Girl a la Cassie, but I loved the black hair, blue eyes, red lips combo on Donna.
I finished the bodysuit in a couple of hours from a Quicksew pattern and I basted and stitched the stars down. The bracers are made from leather and the belt piece and earrings from Wonderflex. For Dragon*Con, my friends did a small retro superheroes group and I made a dress from a vintage pattern, using the same applique stars. I reused my bracers and belt for the costume.
Photos: EBK, Leonard Lee, Benny Lee
Series: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
Debuted: Comikaze Expo 2011
My friends wanted to do (yet another!) pony group for Comikaze Expo. As I had already cosplayed Rainbow Dash, I chose Applejack. Ironically, Rainbow Dash and Twilight Sparkle are my least favorite ponies and Pinkie Pie and Rarity are my favorites. I guess AJ is somewhere in the middle…haha.
The cosplay was fairly closet besides the jewelry and accessories that I made myself.
Photos: Paul Karpey, Leonard Lee
Series: Game of Thrones
Debuted: Dragon*Con 2011
I had been a huge fan of a Song of Ice and Fire series since reading the novels and when the tv adaption came out, all my friends couldn’t wait to make costumes from it. I chose Sansa mostly because I was enamored with her tragic story and also because she’s closest in age to me (Arya’s too young, boohoo).
I wanted to avoid the Southron updo because it was weird to me and too difficult to do with a wig. I was also in a time crunch to get this done in time for the con. I used a medieval dress pattern and made the dress out of dupioni silk, lining it in a contrasting silver silk. The idea was to do a nicer version of Sansa’s Winterfell dress but with her Northron hair. I taught myself to French braid to make the wig (which I soon forgot…) and bought a direwolf charm for a necklace.
Photos: Anna Fischer, Judy Stephens, Leonard Lee, Melissa Lee
Series: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
Debuted: Momocon 2011
My friend Mary loved My Little Pony and really wanted to through a group together for Momocon. I thought it would be a great chance to cosplay with local Atlanta girls and I had also grown up with My Little Pony toys when I was little.
I dyed my jacket and sewed on rainbow ribbon. I had my shirt custom screen printed with the cutie mark. The rest of the costume I kind of threw together. The wig is sharpie dyed. Since no one had really done human versions of the characters at the time, I just went off the design and character of Rainbow Dash to make my outfit.
Photos: Brian Boling, Lionel Lum
Queen of Hearts
Series: Alice in Wonderland
Debuted: Momocon 2010
I made some cute Halloween costumes for myself and a friend. I later spruced them up for a photoshoot with Benny Lee. He did some awesome 3D modeling and background work for the photos and we had an amazing makeup artist to do some dramatic looks.
The corset is fully laced with rigilene boning and laces in the back. I used a pattern to the make the skirt portion of the dress with ruching and rhinestones. I hand beaded seed beads and sequins onto the bodice. The crown is made from wonderflex and then embellished. The scepter is made from a wooden dowel, Styrofoam, resin cast gems, paper clay and wonderflex. None of the costume was drawn from any particular design but more of an amalgamation of various Queen of Hearts inspired arts, so I mostly made it up as I was going.
Photos: Benny Lee
Jill Valentine (Resident Evil: Apocalypse)
Character: Jill Valentine
Series: Resident Evil: Apocalypse
Debuted: Momocon 2008
Before doing Jill from the video games, I really loved the actress and design for her in the movie. I’m actually not such a huge fan of the movie series (don’t get me into it, man!) but I still thought Jill from the movies was badass.
I altered an old skirt with bias tape into her mini skirt. I used a corset pattern for the top and I was particular to use light blue denim to be as accurate as possible. The tactical belt, leg holster and shoulder holster were bought, the guns borrowed.
Series: Peter Pan
Debuted: Dragon*Con 2008
My cosplay group made a Disney group so I chose Tinkerbell! I made the wings out of 12 gauge wire and covered them in organza, spray painting them. I altered a dress pattern to sew the dress and styled my old Namine wig into an updo. Looking back, this costume is pretty ghetto, but I was only 15 at the time!