Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Halloween Sweets: Making Your Own Costume Pt. 2

Welcome back to the second part of this road map for making and having your very own Monarch and Dr. Girlfriend costumes. Now that you've had the delight of seeing pictures of the finished product, it's time for the grit. Pictured above are a few supplies you'll need to make the torso piece and the shoulder armor (I'm tempted to call them shoulder pads, but I remind myself that The Monarch doesn't wear an 80s power suit). Suggested fabric, again, is a matte yellow spandex (should be about $4-5/yd), and you should have about 2.5-3 yards on hand. You'll also need 3/4" thick foam (available at fabric stores), sturdy scissors, and a hot glue gun. First part is cutting and gluing the foam to the armor. The foam doesn't mold easily, so you'll want to glue and hold along the perimeter of the armor, one curve at a time (i.e. the curve along the neck, each underarm, the part that would run along your side, the bottom "m" curve of the armor, etc.). Glue first and cut as you go. It's easier to cut the foam to be precise with the armor's shape when part of it is secured. There will be times when cutting excess foam before you glue is helpful. This is okay to do. As you glue each curve, be sure to take time to hold the foam to the armor. Be careful of where you hold the armor because that hot glue can be, well, hot! Once you've got your foam glued on and you have a shape that you're happy with, pull out the spandex. Make sure your fabric is folded once in half. Essentially, you'll be gluing two layers of fabric to your foamy armor piece. As with the foam, you'll want to glue in sections, making sure to press the fabric against the armor as you go along. Two things to keep in mind as you're doing this: There will be excess fabric on the back that you can cut later, but make sure the material is following the form of your foam armor pretty well. Also, check your fabric on the front regularly to see that it's pulled taught and isn't bunching. When you're finished gluing, you can cut off excess fabric in the back. And voila! You have your finished armor piece (sans necessary Monarch logo, of course). Next-gauntlets, shoulder armor, and such. Oh my?

Action Jackson out.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween Sweets: Making Your Own Costume

Happy Monday everyone! I hope and trust you're all still feeling a tinge of the Halloween spirit and are NOT considering putting up Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or any other November/December holiday decorations. Just think of how it would make Halloween feel- yeah, it would feel like a one-night stand. It's amazing how much we invest in the build-up leading to a holiday and how ready everyone is to be done with it the day after. I for one wish Halloween lasted for a few days (or that people celebrated Dia de los Muertos on the same level) as it's one of my favorite holidays, if not my favorite.

This feeling is especially strong for me this year because I spent a ridiculous amount of time and money making my boyfriend's costume and gathering up the parts and accessories for both of our costumes. As some of you already know, we went as the Venture Bros' beloved Monarch and Dr. Girlfriend. Hindsight is 20/20, and if I had it to do over again, I would still choose this costume pick. However, I would make sure that I went about everything in a smarter and more efficient (and incidentally cheaper) way. Because I mostly found pictures and not road maps for how to create these costumes at the outset of doing so, I thought I'd post the most thorough (as much as my down time at work and motivation allow for anyway) how-to guide in hopes that it will help someone considering doing this. On that same note, I should mention that though the final product of this looks pretty good, my efforts would in no way be acceptable on the Project Runway stage, i.e. much of what you see (for the parts I made for my boyfriend's costume) is held together by hot glue, safety pins, and velcro. No sewing went into this, so perhaps the daunting task of costume creating will seem less intimidating to you non-sewers out there after reading this.

I'll start off with a list of the pieces needed for each costume.

-Black Jumpsuit (tip: if you're able to find black spandex under armor pants and a long-sleeve shirt as 2 pieces instead of the 1-piece jumpsuit, I would recommend this as it makes bathroom breaks a hell of a lot easier)
-Yellow Boots/Boot Covers: A well-stocked costume shop should have yellow boot covers. Yellow spandex could be used to cover boots you may already have as well.
-Black Hood: Remember that the Monarch's hood has yellow ear coverings as well as a black pointed dip on the forehead. Both of these can be hot glued onto a plain black hood. If you prefer/forget about it/are in a time crunch, the black dip can be drawn on with eyeliner or a black chunky makeup crayon that is sold at any drug store around Halloween or any costume shop (year-round for the costume shop)
-Yellow Gauntlets: Dart mounts optional. There, I said it. If you want to spend the time making scalloped gauntlets, securing construction paper to flat gauntlets, or painting and gluing yellow cylindrical shapes (perhaps Crayola thick markers are a good scale size), you're a better (and more patient) person than me.
-Yellow Chest Piece: I'll get to this in more detail in a little bit. I bought a plastic Roman warrior armor piece at the costume shop for the strucutre, a 2x2' piece of 3/4" thick foam from the fabric store- think egg carton mattress except flat, and 2.5 yards of yellow spandex. Red fabric paint, hot glue, friendly roommate, and plentiful patience were on hand as well.
-Yellow Shoulder Pads: Plastic Roman warrior shoulder armor, aforementioned foam, and yellow spandex used for these. Again, have friendly roommate and hot glue on hand.
-Black Gloves: We just used the fleece black gloves I had lying around. I'm sure you can buy plain black at just about any store (costume or otherwise) for under $10.
-Orange/Black Wings: Save yourself a lot of heartache, time, and money and use long pieces of cardboard as the silhouette/structure for this. When collapsed, the Monarch's wings are very angular, so most people probably won't notice this skim. Use the least expensive matte orange fabric you can find, and get about 3 yards of it. I picked up some broadcloth at $2/yd. Also, pick up some black and white fabric paint to transform the plain orange wings.
-Yellow Crown: For this, I used gold foam (they sell sheets of it at any big crafting store) that was slightly thicker and slightly larger than an 8.5x11". You'll need to have some stretchy string on hand as well.
-Ridiculous Eyebrows and Goatee: This is one place where a lot of people seem to erroneously skim, and it shows. I know it seems minute, but if you want your costume to look good, a well-stocked costume shop will sell synthetic hair handlebar mustaches (good for the eyebrows) as well as braids of hair that you can mold to be the dimensions of the goatee (said hair could also be used for eyebrows if your prefer). They will also carry Ben Nye adhesive that you can use to secure the hair to your face. If the thought of glue on your face scares you, know that Ben Nye is the preferred costume makeup brand, and unless you have skin allergies, you should be fine. If you're really not sure about how your skin will react, test a patch on the back of your hand.

Action Jackson out...will return with more how-to later.
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