On Sunday of Awesome Con, I decided to wear an older costume, my Stephanie Brown Robin. I had last worn it to PAX East in 2015, so I thought it was time to bring it out again. For this wearing, I fixed up the belt and made a new mask.
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.
With Bellechere (who was dressed as a zombie clown as a tie in for the Downward Viral booth)
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.
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 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.
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.
For the base disk, I used a 2 1/2 inch flat circle mold from Mold Muse.
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.
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.
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).
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!
My Stephanie Brown Robin cosplay is almost finished, which is great, since I need it this coming Sunday.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
My plan is to work on the dress next. I hope my cover stitch machine doesn’t eat me in the process.