Stephanie Brown Robin at PAX East

I wore this again, this time at the Saturday of PAX East. I very much enjoy this costume, and it travels well (easy to fit in a suitcase–no large props or wings!).

Plus, that Saturday I got to meet two awesome cosplayers: Monika Lee (who appeared on Heroes of Cosplay) and Bellechere. I admire the work of both of these ladies a lot, so I was pretty excited to take photos with them and to get their autographs on my badge.

PAX East

PAX East

PAX East

PAX East

PAX East

PAX East

With Monika Lee
PAX East

With Bellechere (who was dressed as a zombie clown as a tie in for the Downward Viral booth)
PAX East

PAX East

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Stephanie Brown Robin Belt: Tutorial

Here is a write-up of how I made my Stephanie Brown Robin belt. You may have figured out some of this from my past posts, but here is all the detail.

Baltimore Comic-Con

I made the buckle and the dots on the belt using Sculpey clay. Sculpey III for the dots, and Sculpey Premo for the buckle. Premo is better for thinner shapes that might otherwise crack, since III is a little brittle.

I started out by dividing a block of Sculpey III into small sections (each block is formed by three logs, and I sectioned those logs into roughly three sections each).
Robin Belt Construction

Then I rolled each section into a ball, and pressed each into a 1 1/4 inch cabochon mold (specifically the Sculpey Cabochon Mold APM81).
Robin Belt Construction

I used an acrylic roller to smooth out the underside of the cabochon.
Robin Belt Construction

And carefully removed the cabochon from the mold.
Robin Belt Construction

I ended up making a lot of these dots (turned out I only needed 12 for my 27 inch belt, so I had extra).
Robin Belt Construction

I baked the dots on a toaster oven tray in my conventional oven. I find it’s good to cover the tray with foil to avoid the cooking clay smell and fumes. I cooked them for a little longer than recommended, just to make sure the clay was hardened.
Robin Belt Construction

Moving on to the buckle, I made this, as previously mentioned, using Sculpey Premo.
Robin Cosplay

For the middle part, I followed the same method I used for the dots, but I used a larger mold (1 7/8 inches). This was the PJ003 mold from Best Flexible Molds.
Robin Cosplay

For the base disk, I used a 2 1/2 inch flat circle mold from Mold Muse.
Robin Cosplay

Here is the finished disk. I baked the Premo pieces in a similar manner to how I baked the Sculpey III dots. I did let them bake longer, though, because Premo takes more time to cook.
Robin Cosplay

After the pieces were baked and cooled, I sanded them down. I used three grits of wet/dry sandpaper (400, 600, and 800) in progressive order to get a smoother finish. I wore a particle respirator mask and did the sanding in a bucket of water to avoid breathing in any polymer clay dust.
Robin IV

After that I applied a few layers of acrylic gesso to the sanded pieces, and then painted them with acrylic paint. I chose the yellow paint to match the fabric I was going to use for the belt itself.
Robin IV

Then I sewed a 1 1/2 x 26 1/2 inch tube of cotton sateen (plus seam allowances), encasing another layer of polar fleece (to give the belt some body). I made piping (using cotton 4.8mm cording that is often used for upholstery) and sewed it into the long edges of the tube (which I sewed wrong sides together first, and then turned). Turning the tube is hard to do with the piping, but a chopstick can help. After turning, I hand sewed the tube closed.
Robin Cosplay

I glued the two parts of the buckle (the domed piece and the disk) together using hot glue. I used Gem-Tac glue to attach the dots and the buckle to the fabric belt.
Robin Cosplay

I put a closure on the belt (a large snap) by sewing one part to the fabric end and gluing the other part to the belt. I used E6000 glue (always use proper ventilation–I open a window and wear a respirator when using E6000).
Robin Cosplay

Finished!
Robin Cosplay

To show scale:
Robin Cosplay

Our Costumes at Baltimore Comic-Con

This was my first wearing of Stephanie Brown Robin. Overall, thumbs up. The dress and leggings were pretty comfortable, while the wig with the mask didn’t bother me too much. Mike wore another variation on Hawkeye, this time with a new broadhead arrow that he crafted from Worbla and a wooden dowel. Mike has been trying to make a convention-safe broadhead for quite a while, so it was great that he finally made one!

Baltimore Comic-Con

Baltimore Comic-Con

Baltimore Comic-Con

Baltimore Comic-Con

Mike wanted this photo to show off my gloves:
Baltimore Comic-Con

I told him it made me feel like I was in The Sound of Music:
Baltimore Comic-Con

Baltimore Comic-Con

Baltimore Comic-Con

Baltimore Comic-Con

Baltimore Comic-Con

Baltimore Comic-Con

Baltimore Comic-Con

Baltimore Comic-Con

Almost There!

My Stephanie Brown Robin cosplay is almost finished, which is great, since I need it this coming Sunday.

Here you can see my first try-on of the dress and cape.
Robin Cosplay

Re-winding a bit, last time I posted, I left off with a dress that had no sleeves. I started on the sleeves by constructing the little arm pads that Robin usually has. These are probably one of the stupider parts of Robin’s costume. They protect such a little area of the arm, but are a pain to sew. Grr…

Sewing the pad.
Robin Cosplay

Attaching piping to the pad.
Robin Cosplay

The first sleeve after being set in with the arm pad attached.
Robin Cosplay

Moving on to the cape, here I was draping the cape body.
Robin Cosplay

Drafting the collar for the cape.
Robin Cosplay

The collar in the fashion fabric.
Robin Cosplay

The finished cape.
Robin Cosplay

The dress with the second sleeve and the mock turtle neck attached.
Robin Cosplay

Embellishing the belt. I sewed a strip of cotton sateen edged with piping for the belt itself.
Robin Cosplay

The finished belt.
Robin Cosplay

The last sewing part is the gloves. I have one glove finished, just need one more! I also need to style the wig, and that’s it.
Robin Cosplay

Stephanie Brown: Progress

I have been making major progress on my Stephanie Brown/Robin IV cosplay. (Note, I have posted a number of these pictures on my twitter already.)

Today I sewed the dress, except for the sleeves and turtleneck.

Cutting out the fabric. I am using a double knit with a good weight to it. The pattern is McCall’s 6886, modified to raise the front neckline (to make a mock turtleneck). The pattern has some extra ease in it, so I went down a size.
Robin IV

After cutting out the front and back pieces, I did a hem using my cover stitch machine. I pressed up each lower edge with a fusible webbing, and then sewed it with a narrow two needle cover stitch. And I managed not to get into a fight with my machine, so that’s a win in my book.
Robin IV

After that I sewed the side and shoulder seams with my serger. This outfit is using all of my machines! (I also used my straight stitch machine on the leggings.)
Robin IV

Next I had to make the yellow “laces” that are on the front of the dress. I cut three 1/2″ x 2″ pieces of polar fleece, and then covered them in cotton sateen.
Robin IV

Then I sewed these three pieces down, along with the Robin logo patch that I had already purchased.
Robin IV

I still have to attach the mock turtleneck and work on the sleeves, then the dress will be done. After that, I have to make gloves and a cape. I have a pattern for gloves that I’ve used before, but I have to pattern the cape.

Plus there is still the belt. I mentioned previously that I had been using Sculpey to mold the raised details on the belt. I baked those, and did a lot of sanding. Folks recommend sanding Sculpey in water, to avoid getting the polymer dust airborne. You need to use wet/dry sandpaper, which is black instead of the normal brown/red color. I tried to be extra careful, and wore a particulate respirator mask in addition to doing the sanding in a bucket of water. It’s hard on your fingers, but the effort does result in a much smoother finish.
Robin IV

Then I painted the Sculpey yellow with acrylic paint. The bigger piece is going to be the belt buckle.
Robin IV

Cosplay Progress!

I have continued to work on my Robin IV cosplay. I painted the mask yesterday, and purchased a wig from Epic Cosplay earlier this week. It’s very blonde, particularly relative to my natural hair. A very different look for me!

Robin Wig

The painted mask:
Robin Mask

And I also started making some of the embelishments for the belt. The belt has little yellow domed disks on it. I thought I could make these out of sculpey. I worked on them today. Later I will have to paint them yellow.
Robin Belt Construction

In other cosplay news, I’ve also started gathering materials for a Jim Balent-style Catwoman (pinterest link). I purchased a cowl from HeroWares on Etsy. It will be the perfect piece to base my costume around.
Balent Catwoman Cowl

Robin Mask!

I’m enjoying working on this costume so much, because it is encouraging me to learn new skills. For the mask I shaped Wonderflex for the first time. Wonderflex is a type of thermoplastic that becomes soft when heated, allowing it to be molded. It even has some bias stretch, because it is backed with a material similar to open weave buckram. When it cools it holds its shape since the plastic hardens. A lot of cosplayers use Wonderflex for armor making.

To construct this mask, I followed this tutorial written by Aigue Marine. (She has lots of helpful info on her DeviantArt account–she’s made a ton of great cosplays.) I used the first template posted here as a pattern. It worked without modification. I already had a heat gun that Mike had used in armor making before.

The shaped mask:
Robin Mask

Now I have to do the surface painting. I’m going to paint many (20?) layers of gesso on the mask, sand it down, and then paint it green. I’ve got four layers of the gesso down now. Hopefully I will have more progress soon!

Robin IV/Stephanie Brown: Beginnings

I’ve chosen my costume for Baltimore Comic-Con this year. I’m going to make a Robin IV costume, aka Stephanie Brown from the Batman comics.

I dug out my old copies of her original appearance in the Robin book, which will be my source material:
Robin 126 Cover

Robin 126 Panel

So far I’ve done a couple things: purchased red and green double knit fabric, purchased a patch for the logo on the dress, and made green leggings.

The leggings were an adventure. I did several things that I’m just learning how to do: work with knit fabric, use a cover stitch machine, use the straight stretch stitch on my conventional machine, serge through elastic, and fit a pants pattern. I wanted to throw in the towel a couple times, but I stuck with it and now I have a pair of pants! It’s funny that I’ve sewed so many garments but this is only my second pair of pants. I used McCall’s M6173, but I had to modify it to take out some width and add some length at the waist.
Robin Leggings

And here is the logo patch, which I got from 8-Bit Spock on Etsy. It’s a very nice quality. I’m going to work on finding some yellow fabric that matches the color of this patch, from which I can line the cape.
Robin Patch by 8-Bit Spock

My plan is to work on the dress next. I hope my cover stitch machine doesn’t eat me in the process.