Monday, October 24, 2011

Cosplay for slackers

Happy one-week-from-Halloween, everyone!

As you can see from the photos, I’m hard at work on the Peregrine costume for Johanna, my cover model. Our deal requires me to finish the costume by Halloween so she can wear it around her college campus. (Of course, she has to hand out bookmarks while she’s doing that!) So now you can see how the tunic is coming along. I made it out of black cotton twill, durable and machine-washable, using this set of instructions for making Renfair-type tunics. The trim is actually scarlet quilting fabric (Kona Rich Red, if anyone cares, and it is a rich red when it's not under fluorescent lights). The side slits and the hood, of course, are my own additions, but they’re coming along well. I’ve never made a full-on costume for anyone before, but I’m finding that years of sewing odds and ends and occasional garments for myself are really coming in handy.

You can see the trim is already on the sleeves, and the sash is done. There’s one really complicated bit left—the hood and facing—and then it’s just a matter of appliqueing the insignia, making Rae’s kit pouch for the small of her back, and finding some sturdy gloves. And making the facecloth. Hmm, maybe there’s more than one complicated bit left after all. And then I have to make the pin for her hip, of course, but I’ve got an idea for that. Power tools! You should probably seek cover now.

Owing to a recent (but not entirely unexpected) death in the family, I’ll be a little AWOL from the interwebs this week. Chapter 15 will go up as expected, though, so no worries there. To tide you over until you next hear from me, here are two ridiculously easy last-minute Halloween costume ideas, for those of you who haven’t been badgering your friends since summer to make you superhero suits:

L-R: Sugarplum fairy, candy corn, car, candy ninja, candy cane.
1. The (NINJA) shirt in my store is based on one that I originally made as part of a Halloween costume last year. The idea was that no self-respecting ninja would actually wear such a shirt, and that therefore the shirt was the perfect cover for a real live ninja, because no one would expect the wearer of such a shirt to actually be a ninja. (Has my logic made you dizzy yet?)

The costume was mostly helpful because it adapted well to a last-minute costume requirement: I was supposed to be working a Trunk or Treat event with a couple of friends, and found out only the day before Halloween that my costume was supposed to have a “candy” theme to fit with the décor on our car. I grabbed an index card, a Sharpie, and some tape, and affixed a little sign to the shirt above the word (NINJA) that read (CANDY). Thus the Candy Ninja was born, and I got to spend the evening creeping silently up behind people and offering them lollipops. I think I was the spookiest thing at the whole event.The shirt is available in unisex, women's, and women's plus sizes.

2. This year, however, I’ve gone with a different T-shirt-based costume—one utilizing this handy (and very cheap!) “Cosplay Slacker” shirt by Aaron Williams of PS238 fame. It’s $5, and the cheapest shipping the manufacturer offers is Priority Mail for $9.15, so customers within the continental U.S. can get the whole deal by Halloween for $14.15. My shirt hasn’t arrived yet (I only ordered it yesterday evening), but they do say that shirts ordered on Monday generally arrive by Friday, so I’m confident that I’ll be Halloween-compliant by the 31st. It’ll do for answering the door for the four groups of trick-or-treaters we get each year, anyway. And the shirt pretty much sums up my attitude toward dressing up—it’s for other people, mostly my characters and my wacky friends.

More photos of Johanna as the costume evolves …

"Strike a pose", I tell her, and this is what I get ...


  1. "She resisted the urge to plant her hands on her hips in triumph. She’d decided months ago that if she ever started standing like a comic-book illustration—or worse, like Peter Pan—she’d jump off a much higher roof." (Chapter 1)

    Johanna likes watching me suffer.