Monday, August 26, 2013
... my steampunk White Rabbit cosplay!
Oh, and hi.
Been a while, huh? As nice as my first-ever Sabbatical was, I gotta say: it is GOOD to be back. Almost as good as being done with this monstrously complex cosplay, in fact. (Oooh, did you see that segue action there? DID YOU?)
I promise I DID try to remember to smile. And look at the camera. Most of the time I succeeded at at least one of those. (at-at? Yes. AT-AT.)
When I chose this cosplay last year my goal was to learn a little leather working. I've still only dipped my toes in the pool that is leather craft, but I'm happy to say I made my leather arm bracers entirely on my own. The mask you've already seen (though now it has a brighter gold and an enameled red heart), and the leather corset was mostly John's work, though I did the design, carving, and painting.
This costume represents a staggering amount of time and effort, with more stops and do-overs then I care to remember, so I won't bore you with a zillion process shots. I actually sewed nearly everything you see (I know! Me! SEWING!), from two $10 skirts that looked like this:
...and a massively too-big jacket I found at a thrift store for a few dollars. Here's the jacket once I finished it the first time:
So I took a deep breath and hacked it in half:
What you see here is actually a cropped jacket and separate tie-on bustle; the corset just gives it the illusion of being one solid piece.
I made the neck ruff and wrist cuffs from the extra skirt's gauzy lining. There's not a straight seam anywhere, and I made everything up as I went along, but in the end I guess I'm a little less terrified of the sewing machine. (So. Many. Ruffles.)
My "wig" is actually three separate yarn falls, assembled mostly from a fun yarn that looks a bit like dreadlocks. I mixed in a bunch of white-and-gold braids and rope strands for texture, but those don't show much in the photos.
You're supposed to wear pony falls by wrapping them around your own hair twisted into buns, but I just couldn't get mine to work that way. (I think my hair may be too long/thick.) So instead, I attached the falls to large plastic hair clips, which work like a dream.
Oh, and I also made a wide cotton headband with more yarn attached to cover my hairline. It's all quite soft and comfy, if a bit warm:
Because the corset is more of a box than a tube, you can't tighten it too much, lest the curved side panels pop out of shape. As a result it's snug enough to be comfortable, but not restricting. (John cut and hand-stitched that in a single night, btw. It took me longer to decorate it!) It laces up the back with a wide red satin ribbon.
Attached to the corset are my over-sized pocket watch, a chain of "Drink Me" potion bottles, and a small brass horn with a painted rose wound through it:
Let's see how many people at Dragon Con notice and "get" the painted rose. ;)
I had a lot of fun with my bottle chain. My favorite is the green one, an actual antique that I decorated with a vintage pin and brass wire loop:
Speaking of which, those brass charms have a slightly raised edge, so I was able to "enamel" them with red and black nail polish for my potion bracer and mask, like so:
(The excess on the edges just scratches off after it dries.)
And here they are on my potion bracer:
(Now watch one fall out and break at DC, since I just bragged about it...)
And here are both bracers together:
The watch bracer was an insane amount of work, since each piece is attached with either a leather strap, riveted in place, or by brass wire threaded through the leather. (The four largest watches are new, but everything else is from my vintage stash.) I painted and aged the leather, so I would have a mix of whites - you can see they match my vintage leather gloves.
In my mind the White Rabbit is both the official Time Keeper and Potion Master of Wonderland, pressed reluctantly into service by the Queen. That's why there's a bracer for each, and why the corset and potion bracer represent all four card suites, not just hearts. I like to think the heart on the cheek and neck pin were later additions which the Queen forced Rabbit to wear.
Speaking of which:
Another fun piece that John berated me over because no one will ever notice but *I* know it's there: the shield pin was a vintage find, and everything else came from my "gift stash" from you readers and Sharyn, my friend and CW co-writer. The bottle is filled with gears and tiny copper shavings left over from my Lady Vadore cane. I can't explain it, but carrying that little bit of history over from my last cosplay just makes me happy. :)
Moving down to my legs, the tights are hand-painted cotton leggings (thanks for the tip, Sharyn; stripes DO look better!) and the boots are my oh-so-comfy favorites straight out of my closet.
I'm, uh, smiling on the inside.
I've breezed though it all here, but every piece of this costume was an uphill battle, and I'm over the moon to finally have it finished. I loved most of the process, but there were many times when I lost sight of the end of the cosplay tunnel!
If you'd like to see my White Rabbit in person, you'll have to be quick; I only plan to wear it for a few hours Sunday night at Dragon Con, during the Mechanical Masquerade. Look for me between roughly 7 and 11pm at and around the Westin, where the Masquerade is held, and the Marriott, where everyone goes to mingle. I'll be at the Masquerade promptly at 9:30pm, but beyond that, I'll probably be wandering. You can't miss me, though; I'll be in the group with a day-glo steampunk Cheshire Cat (John) and a monocle-sporting Queen of Hearts (my mom.) Hee!
As for the rest of Dragon Con, look for my tweets to help you hunt us down, or you can find me and John at the Star Trek and/or Two Doctors panel, or around the art whenever I have down time. I'll have my usual stash of bribery pins, too, in case just saying hi isn't enough incentive for you. :)
Thanks for being so patient during my time away, everyone, and for the massive amount of support for my return. Stay tuned for pics of John's costume, then my marathon posts of Dragon Con coverage. Then - THEN - I can start catching you up on all the fun stuff that happened during my sabbatical. (CANNOT. WAIT.)
Hope to see some of you soon!
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