Category: Bloggety Blog

We Need To Talk About Commissions…

Today I want to talk about what you should really consider before you take on a commission…

Etsy Store Now OPEN!!

Hey you guys, I’m really excited as I’ve just reopened my OddTogs Etsy store with a load of new pieces in it! When I’ve finished a commission, or a cosplay piece I’m always left with small scraps of fabric, so I’ve started to recycle them into cute flowers that can be clipped into the hair, onto a hat band or worn as a brooch!

So far I’ve got lots of Doctor Who pieces up, based on Five, Ten and Eleven, plus Rose, Idris and Clara. Please check them out and let me know on Etsy if there are any designs you’d like to see!

There are also lots of other cosplay designs, some original designs, a lot of raw edged tatty flowers (I love the look of these!) and soon I’ll do some bows.

I’m planning a few My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic inspired designs soon as well after my husband found some rainbow ribbon in my studio! I’ve been watching the show with my 4yr old son and have come to the conclusion that I am Rarity. She even wears my glasses.

Lots of love and much excitement!

Daphne – 70s Style!

So my much-loved Scooby Gang was one of my most popular costumes of last year. Considering Shaggy & Velma put their kit together for a drunken night out, Daphne was put together in 2 hours by me on the morning of our first event as a group and Fred bought his kit on eBay, it goes to show that time spent does not equal popularity in the cosplay game!

So having said all that, this year Fred and I decided that since we were Fred & Daphne-ing during the day at the SciFi Weekender that we’d have a night out as well, and of course that means new outfits. 70s outfits!
I loved the dance scene at the end of the second live action movie and wanted to do something along those lines, with a classic Daphne look to it. 

I decided to go with a flared sleeve, a draped bodice and short skirt. I really like Gellar’s sash, so decided to incorporate that into the dress as a belt and sash, in an accent colour. The belt was also shaped in an assymmetric curve. There are certain things I favour in design, skirts that are longer in the back for example, and that is one of those things.

This was my colour palette – The purple was found on a shopping trip in London. It was a two-tone glittery fabric with a pink shine to it that was completely perfect for what I was going for! I lined the bodice with purple dress lining.

The sequin fabric was a pink/lilac found on eBay.

Daphne is always very fashion-y, if that’s even a word! I wanted this outfit to be well accessorised but practical for dancing. For the life of me, I can’t remember what bra I wore underneath this, but I’m fairly certain the dress was fixed to it. I wore pink hold ups, which had a really nice weight and colour to them. The shoes were purple/pink paisley Irregular Choice Cortesan shoes and were goddamned perfect!! The heel was low enough to dance in and the flowers were a beautiful little detail. I found a pink sequinned clutch as well.
I knew I was going to use my regular Daphne wig. I am absurdly proud of it, as it was one of the first that I’d really gone to town on, and I love it. So I sparkled it up with a headband in the belt fabric.
I had two options for a necklace. It needed something, as the dress is cut so low, and my original thought was a beaded choker. When the thing arrived though it was massive, it could actually lap my neck twice! So I bought a chiffon scarf in the same green as Daphne’s, wrapped it with the choker so the large beaded chunk looked like a pin, and went with that. It created a really nice line, in keeping with Classic Daphne.
The makeup for this was done by my gorgeous friend Heidi! It was quite a clean look for my skin, then heavy metallic green eyes and lips in a vaguely Studio 54 style. When I redo this outfit (and I will!) I’ll get a better shot of the style.
I also bought a cheap faux fur cape in purple that turned out to be the best idea ever. It was really easy to throw on and set everything off really well! Here you can also see my big, chunky ring, a birthday present from my friend Jessica that turned out to be perfect for this –
Freddles wore mostly the same kit as regular Fred, with an amazing blue paisley shirt. In classic Posh Twat style the white jumper was draped over his shoulders when he wasn’t wearing it.
And finally – 

Buttercup – Final!

First worn at the SciFi Weekender 2015, we grabbed a few shots but will undoubtedly get a few more soon enough! The wig was styled and the crown attached to it for security. Then I added the flowers around the base, which is what gives Buttercup’s crown a busier feel in the movie as opposed to the way it looks in the exhibit.

My sweet Westley played by Leo Chell.

“As you wish…..”
“We can go live in the fireswamp!”
And finally… To the pain!

Buttercup – The Jewellery

The crown begins! First I created the shape, using a heavy duty plastic interfacing. I covered it with silver lame fabric and sized the gaps against one of the large, padded flowers I bought for the dips.

Then I acquired narrow Russian braid to edge the crown. This was applied top and bottom to emphasise the points and creates a 3d effect to the crown. On the original the braided edge and base piece were probably metal, so I’m trying to recreate that effect with fabrics.

This, when it had all dried, formed the base crown. Then it was time to embellish! Buttercup’s crown has large flowers between the points, smaller flowers underneath the points, and three spikes above the points.
These padded flowers were chosen because of their raised edges. I painted the back of them silver as they would be visible above the base crown, then flattened some bead caps to create the gold centre pieces and finished it with a large Swarovski crystal.
Side point – I am a Swarovski snob. I love them. They capture and reflect light just beautifully, and far more effectively than other crystals or cheap diamante. If you don’t believe me, go watch the live action version of Cinderella.

These were the smaller flowers that would go in on the centre of the spikes. These are metal flower bases. I threaded a pearl on a ball-end pin and secured it with a dot of superglue. This was then threaded through the crown and the pin at the back was used to secure the triple spikes.

Above – All flowers installed, next up is the spikes! The centre spikes are larger than the side ones but are basically the same pattern with slightly smaller beads. 


Compared to the crown, the necklace was simple –

Flat oval pearls and a fake pearl drop piece to start, then a flat base piece to attach everything to. The final moonstone centrepiece was glued in place and all finished!
Then the wig arrived… Couldn’t resist trying it all on! This hair and makeup test was taken before the crown and dress were completed. It was actually a challenge, as my usual makeup style is quite contoured and Buttercup has virtually no makeup.

Really pleased with the result! Now to put it all together….

Buttercup – Beading Begins!

Previously on All My Sparkles: The base dress is done and the first round of applique has been glued in place. I’m happy with the fit, and have slowly been gathering pieces required for the crown and jewelry. What needs to happen next is the beading on the dress though. There’s a lot of it!

I decided to go with ivory pearls rather than optic white and have stuck with this throughout.

Once I’d got this far with the beading, the giant white space over my chest was becoming really obvious. It definitely needed filling. I found some decent silver applique pieces, though when they arrived they were really bright in comparison to the rest of the costume, so I put a layer of paint over them.
Above – Before and after reshaping to better fit the dress. Below – After painting it blends in much better with the other pieces.
Each bead is placed on a white translucent cup sequin and then stitched in place. I used the same sequins on the shoulder pieces to blend them in where there were very obvious silver sequins originally, and added more pearls.
The top of the oversleeve splits also have small pearls on each side.

The underdress Buttercup wears is a scrunchy affair. To do this I bought silk chiffon, soaked it, scrunched it and left it to dry. I heat-set the pleats, created narrow piping from ivory satin and attached it to the overdress at the front and back.
Below – Close up of the piping – I embellished this with a ric-rac ribbon and small pearls.

Quick trying on session to show the fit and size of the skirt! This was before I embellished the underdress.

Next up – The crown. All my pieces have finally arrived! 

Buttercup – Sleeves and Silver

So last time I jumped in on this outfit it was basically a top with some stuff pinned onto it. Since then it has fortunately progressed to the point where it’s actually look pretty damn sweet! This horrendous photo of myself is the only one I got after the skirt had gone on, but does show that it’s in roughly the right position on me bust wise. More when my chest is actually hoiked up where nature (alright, Gossard) intended it to be. 

I’ve also had a breakthrough on colour! As previously mentioned, this thing looks anything from blue to shiny white to silver in photographs. Fortunately for me I have a friend in Seattle, and this dress is on display at the Seattle EMP in their Worlds Of Myths & Magic exhibit. She said this thing glows shiny white. It’s like Galadriel appearing in Lothlorien. So bowing to her eyes-on opinion I’m going to forget about attempting to dye it.
The sleeves are medieval/fantasy style, split oversleeves that hang to impractical lengths and are once again embellished around the edges, and undersleeves that are tightly fitted. The fabric I have is slightly more opaque than the original, and the underfinished side doesn’t look quite as nice. I did toy with the idea of lining them with the same fabric, but decided to forget about that idea as it would remove all ability for light to shine through. It also wouldn’t flow as nicely, so I machine hemmed them and put them in.
This is the back drape of the dress as it stands, with sleeves. It’s pinned to overlap at the top just to keep the bugger on the dummy as the sleeves are quite heavy.
The dummy is slightly shorter than I am so it won’t be dragging on the floor quite as much as it is here.

Finally I can start putting all of the applique pieces on this monster! First up is this silver edging. It is actually far more matte finish than I thought originally so I may go over it with a bit of paint to highlight it and bring it up to the shoulder pieces earlier pictured.
For the early stages I glued the trim in place with a fast-grab, washable fabric glue. The applique needed to be cut and shaped accordingly, with bits added or removed where necessary to move it around the corners. There will also be much sewing on of pearls and sequins with this, so the later stitching will also give it that added security.
I have also started work on the crown so check back soon for some babbling about that! Mostly there will be swearing as making jewellry is always a challenge for me.
The Back – To be laced or zipped.

Count Dooku – Star Wars: Attack Of The Clones

Count Dooku, or Darth Tyranus. This was a commission for a friend of mine and took a go to get right. The first tunic I made, I didn’t like the look of the fabric, and on top of that the bloody arms were too tight! So I took apart the whole thing, repatterned the sleeves entirely and created this.

This has an extended centre dart to allow for the client’s shape, and a centre back seam for the same thing.

This has a velcro close to halfway down the tunic, allowing for ease of movement. The collar closes with hooks and eyes.

The belt patches are top stitched with dark thread, then attached to the belt with contact cement. The belt closes in the back with lacing.

The cloak is a linen/cotton mix from memory, really nice to work with and a great drape but lightweight enough to fly properly. It was interfaced with dark interfacing and wadded to get the right look. This took a lot of work at the toille stage to get the collar to stand up properly, adding in fabric, fitting, recutting etc, and I’m really pleased with the end result!
The lining is a standard antistatic lining. I had real trouble matching the original finish with the lining so went for a good colour instead. Again, it hangs well and moves nicely so I’m pleased.

The back collar is where the real fitting work happened. Result – Win.
This is the finished result, heading out to my client today! I’ll post photos up of him in his full kit once I get them sorted.

Elitism & How To Win At Cosplay

Verb. Speak to or treat with disrespect or scornful abuse.
Noun. A disrespectful or scornfully abusive remark or act.
The Cosplay Elite. The shining, beautifully formed costumed people who look like they’ve just stepped from the pages of a comic book, a musical, a film, a TV show. An inspiration to many and the curse of some. We all have our role models, some are better known than others. I could name a few of my personal Cosplay Elite, my cosplay role models and inspiration for one reason or another, but I think they know who they are.
Hello, lovelies. OddTogs calling. Today I am back on my soapbox to talk to you all about cosplay elitism. This is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot from one side or another, and something I get called on a fairly regular basis, usually meant as an insult. Yesterday’s example was “you who are ‘Cosplay Elite’ enough to have judged many a cosplay contest”, something I find particularly entertaining as I’ve only done a couple here and there.
But setting aside the troll for a moment, or more appropriately, hitting him with the ban hammer, there is always that concept of what is elitist behaviour and the use of that word like it’s an insult whenever one person sees someone else as trying to be better than other people.
In my view, trying to be better than yourself is no bad thing. Comparison is in our nature, so is competition, and a drive to improve our skills. For me personally, improving my cosplay skill set – mostly fabric based – is vital to my business.
What that drive to improve – and in other’s eyes, be better than other people – means for me is that I have a thriving business, working in a job that I love beyond reason. What it doesn’t make me is a better cosplayer, costumer or person than anyone else. 
I like to be good at things. I like to be able to produce good quality stuff that fits. I like to practice things like hair, makeup, voice, mannerisms to get a character right. Last year I got two ex Forces friends to go through things with me for Anderson – how to draw a gun, in this case a Lawgiver, pose properly, and reholster. I now know what trigger discipline is. Is this required to be a good cosplayer? No. Do I like that I personally know all that stuff so when I look at photos of myself I have a sense of pride that I mostly know what I’m doing? Yes. And most importantly – Do I expect other people to care about doing all of that? Hell no. I get what I want out of my hobby and that makes me happy. I expect no less from other people than that they get what they want out of theirs, whatever that may be. 
Cosplay is, first and foremost, about the fun of it. If you want to wear the same hotpants and leather jacket as Amy Pond, fine. If you want to swipe a set from a charity shop, fine. Whatever works for you. If that jacket – any jacket – makes you feel happy like Amy Pond running with the Doctor, then you win at cosplay. What you wear and how you look is as valid as the person next to you if it makes you happy.
So how if this is my view can I judge cosplay contests, or work with the Galactic Knights, a costume group that requires accuracy for trooping?
Very simple. In contest, we’re looking for costume accuracy to the source material and the skill in reproducing that. We’re also looking at how it’s presented, how entertaining they are, ingenuity in design or representation etc. Cosplayers who enter competition are asking to be compared to each other. That’s what they want to get out of their hobby. With fabric costumes I know what I’m looking at, how well a seam is finished, how well a pattern is reproduced. I have friends who specialise in armour, prosthetics, wig work etc, many of which are areas that I suck at (for now).
Generally, one of the most interesting things I find is the months of prep leading up to the competition.  The swearing, the crying, the offers of help, begging for divine intervention, and then that sense of triumph when you’re stepping on stage, into an event, because it’s done. Whatever mountains you had to climb to get there, it’s done. You win at Cosplay.
With the Galactic Knights there are other things in play. The Knights, as well as other costuming clubs such as Sentinel Squad UK and the Rebel Legion, have costume requirements for trooping. Not for membership. Anyone can join the club, people on the boards are more than happy to help with advice when asked for to finish a costume, but the costume must be produced to a high standard for clearance. Why? Because we’re asked to attend events as those characters. We are asked to perform at events as those characters. With that comes certain perks, free or reduced entry, free board, travel expenses, because we provide a service to the event – we entertain, and to be believable we have to look the part. Clothes matter here to enable us to do the job.
Judge Dredd & Judge Derp:
Winning at Cosplay
With the Galactic Knights, you won’t see Judge Dredd take off his helmet in public. He does that to maintain character, believability, both for himself and the people we are out to entertain. He is scarier for it. Even more so when he does take the lid off. And because that is his hobby, the reaction he gets from crowds is part of the enjoyment, he wins at cosplay.
So before I ramble off, having already rambled on, I am reminded of Wheaton’s Law – 
1) Don’t be a dick
2) Have fun
3) That’s it.
If you’re having fun, you win at cosplay. And if all being called ‘Cosplay Elite’ really means of me is that I like to challenge myself, then I’ll own that too. Because that’s what I get out of my hobby, for me. A challenge. If that makes me elitist in the eyes of some, that is their business and their problem. I refuse to see it as an insult anymore.

Buttercup – The Princess Bride’s Wedding Dress!

I am of the opinion that only two types of people truly exist. Those who quote The Princess Bride and those who quote Withnail And I.

I’ve always loved this film but was never a big fan of Buttercup’s main costume, the orange/tan affair that she gets herself kidnapped in. But a couple of years ago I had the job of making a shirt for a Westley cosplayer I hang out with, so when I noticed this dress on a recent rewatch I decided I’d have a look at it!
Fortunately this piece, along with Westley’s costume and Inigo Montoya’s, are currently in the EMP in Seattle. Museums are great as they usually have hi-res photos on the catalogue sites or in the museum’s publicity for new exhibits, and if they don’t there is usually a photographer who has taken them.

It’s largely medieval, two parts to the dress – an overdress and an underdress. As can be seen here – 

The colour is another one where it changes beween how it looks in photos and between scenes in the film, seeming to change from ivory to silver to blue. Personally I’m going for a very light blue if it’s achievable with the fabric I have, and if not ivory will do.

Bodice – cotton pipe on the centre line and edged with narrow silver piping. Mine comes up slightly higher because I’m somewhat larger in the bust. Fit comes first!

Close up of the silver piping, and I’ve overlaid the first sets of trim to see how they’ll look – 

To get the right line at the back I had to screencap Buttercup throwing a hissyfit at Prince Humperdinck. It looks like it has a zip close so I’ve left it until I get the top fabrics.
Next on this – The Crown! Until I find my second fabric. <3
Wuv…. Twoo Wuv…