Sunday, 2 June 2013

A Cosplayer is Born... and Moxxi Part 1 - Spats!

Hello world!  I decided to finally get this blog thing going for a few reasons:  first, overall I am terribly charming and witty, and the world just must know what I'm thinking (ha ha); second (and more importantly) I finally decided to make the leap and create my first cosplay! No, this isn't going to be just a cosplay blog, but as I have been working through this process - researching, learning, creating - I tried so hard to find accounts of what those before me did, and there isn't much out there in the way of tutorials applicable to the costumes I was creating for my husband and I. MANY people have played Moxxi and Dr. Zed before, but explaining how they did what they did didn't seem to be a priority - I figured, why don't I share!

The first step, of course, was research, so I went in game(s) and took pictures (of my TV) of Zed and Moxxi in every location they appear, and from literally EVERY angle I could imagine. For the record, that wasn't good enough and I've been back a few times since to get a little angle here or a little detail there. I started to gather fabric and notions in about February - plenty of time before con to get everything together - but of course, I kept procrastinating, and every time I set out to get something done, I would wind up discovering there was some little thing I was missing and put it off to another day.
Awesome design, a lot of work! Hence, tutorials!
Looks simple... until you get to work!
While I can't promise a complete tutorial of every little step, I can definitely explain the steps I followed, where I got the bits, pieces, and fabrics I found, and what I had to do to get them all together (if there's anyone out there reading, and you have questions, feel free to ask!).  If it's not clear yet, I tend to be more than I little verbose, so there may be more talky talky than needed, but if you stick with me, I'll give you the steps I followed to make these "masterpieces."  Warning: you will need some basic sewing skills AND a sewing machine to make these costumes, but the last time I did any major sewing was eight years ago, and the last time I made a garment was in the ninth grade, a total of thirteen years ago, a sloppy pair of shorts - so there may be hope for you yet!
The first piece I actually got around to making was Moxxi's spats (boot covers).  In order to figure out HOW to make them, I searched the internets like a boss, and came across THIS lovely tutorial from Festive Attyre for making your own pattern and using it to sew a pair of spats!

Materials necessary, ALL found at my local Fabricland:

-White Fabric (preferably stiff, I used light denim)
-White Thread
-0.5" Yellow Double Fold Bias Tape (I accidentally grabbed single fold.  Don't.)
-Matching Yellow Thread
-A seperable white zipper of adequate length (determined based on the length of the spat you want)
-Eight large black buttons

Duct tape spat template
Okay, not so artistic...
The basics, put on a pair of sacrificial stockings over the shoe you plan to cover, and duct tape where you want the spat to cover.  Once you have your duct tape spat built, use a sharpie to draw a line the front and back of the leg, as straight and accurate as possible (using a friend or conscript if you don't feel you can do it yourself). I also added a line down the inside of my spat where I planned on putting the zipper (though I ended up putting the zipper on the outside based on how the item came together). These pieces of duct tape stuck to stocking become the stencil for your pattern! I traced mine on to cardboard, then traced the cardboard stencils on to the fabric - boom! A spat was ready to be born! Don't forget to leave a seam allowance on the edges that will be sewn together, I usually stick with 5/8" or so. Because bias tape will be applied to the outer edge, you don't need to leave any extra allowance on the top or bottom, unless you want a little extra space to ensure the fit, just remember to cut it down to exactly where you want your spat to fit before putting the trim on.

Pattern for Moxxi's spats
Suddenly, pattern!

Sewing the spats
My messy, messy workspace...
I pinned the pieces together, and sewed up the front and back. It was at this point that I determined how long my zipper needed to be by measuring the length of the pieces I needed to attach. Applying the bias tape was a pain with the single fold, but with double fold, it would be simple. Pin the bias tape around the edges, and sew it in place. Take care on the curves, fold as necessary to get the tape to conform to the shape of the toe.  I ended up putting it around the entire edge, and then attaching the zipper underneath the bias tape on the outside of the spats. 

Once the bias was on, it was button time! I tried to match the spacing as closely and evenly as possible, though the buttons were a bit small.  Finally, I sewed a wee bit of black elastic on to the bottom of the spat to stretch under the shoe and keep the bottom edge of the spat in place.
Moxxi's spats, before cell shading and blood spatter
Aaaand voila! Spats! The fun part - cell shading and adding blood spatter - will come later ;)  The only things I would change are: the buttons, I ended up making the rest of the buttons out of polymer clay, and intend to make matching ones for the spats before my next wear and I would most certainly use double fold bias tape, no matter how far I needed to search for it!  Stay tuned for more!

*Added after the fact* 
All my Moxxi Cosplay tutorials so far:
Moxxi Part 2 - Finding Fabric and Starting the Jacket
Moxxi Part 3 - Jacket continued, Stripes and Zipper
Moxxi Part 4 - Cuffs and Collar
Moxxi Part 5 - The Button Solution
Moxxi Part 6 - The Patches!
Moxxi Part 7 - Belt and Buckle!
Moxxi Part 8 - Rubi's Holster and Garter

All my Dr. Zed  Cosplay tutorials so far:
Dr. Zed Part 1 - Smock Basics
Dr. Zed Part 2 - Shoulder Armour and Flask Pocket

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