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Who Knew? A Steampunk Cheshire Cat Is Kinda Creepy

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Ok, you've seen my costume for this year's Dragon Con, so now it's John's turn!

John initially planned to cosplay as Gepetto, but when our Steampunk Disney group's Cheshire Cat dropped out, I jumped at the chance to have John in a coordinating Wonderland costume. "We'll be a matched set!" I said. "Only one that totally clashes."

Here's my first scribbled sketch, which I used to sell John on the idea:


I figured it would end up pretty creepy, to be honest, but the creep-factor still took John by surprise when he finally put everything on. Ha! At least he's a really bright-and-cheerful kind of creepy, though:

 "We're all mad here
In a dapper, gentlemanly-type fashion."

John made almost everything you see, including the top hat, vest, ascot, and pants. (We found the shirt online.) For the vest he even had to make his own striped fabric, so you can see he's still the superior sewing wizard. I made the half-mask, which is leather with fiber optic whiskers (woot!), plus his leather pouch (since neither of us have pockets), and his hat band decoration and pin. Oh, and I painted his vest buttons. :)

Less than two weeks out from DC John decided he wanted a flamingo cane. I told him we had PLENTY to do still and to stop being ridiculous. So he went out to the garage ... and carved himself a flamingo cane.

I was so impressed that of course I couldn't say no when he asked me to paint it. I've never painted anything like this before, but then, he'd never carved anything, either, so it was fun new ground for both of us. Quick, too, since it was done in less than two days, including all the drying time.

Plus, look how fabulous:


John's ears were a convention purchase - from a convention I'll have to fill you guys in on later, since it was during my Sabbatical - but the fur was so long that they looked like giant purple tribbles. So I trimmed them way down and used hairspray to sculpt them into shape: 

 
 (John's mask started out a bit wider on the sides; I went back and trimmed it after this photo.)
 
The ears don't show up too well on his black hat, but I really love them with the colorful gear-and-springs decoration I added on the side. (Those gears are yet another gift from Sharyn, who cut them for us special with her embossing machine.) I plan to make another hat stand so we can display this  later in John's man cave/game room.

I had so much fun making that hat band piece that I made a second one for John to wear as a pin:

 It's made from an old Disney button, spray-painted black with a hole drilled through the middle. I added the gears and stuck a bunch of wire springs and curly Qs through the hole, securing them on the back with packing tape.

Another detail you can't really see here (but that should look great in the dark rooms of Dragon Con) are John's purple fiber optic whiskers:

They were a pain and a half to install, but work pretty well. I used a $5 fiber optic hair clip-in, which has a battery case small enough (once we dremeled off the clip part) to fit under the mask against John's chin.

 
I'd like to do a tutorial on John's leather satchel soon, since it was surprisingly easy and only took me a few hours to finish, just making things up as I went along. It's a perfect first project for anyone interested in leather working, and useful, too, since I get a new belt pouch out of it:

We singed it a little in the oven, so the stain is a bit grungier than intended, but I really did throw this together in about three hours, so I'm looking forward to making another one. John's going to wear it mostly behind him and out of sight since it doesn't quite "go" with his outfit, but we do need some kind of carrier for our phones and IDs.


And there you have it!


Hope you enjoyed John's creepy Cheshire! Again, look for us at the Mechanical Masquerade at Dragon Con this Sunday night, or just keep watching here for my gads of DC coverage, coming soon!

Posted by Jen at 12:00 PM Labels: ,

83 comments:

  1. Wonderful. You'll clash spectacularly. I love the key as a clasp idea.

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  2. Oh wow, I was saying only the other day that I really needed a new walking stick, mine is so battered, and now none I can buy will ever compare to a *flamingo* one.

    You two are going to make a very eye-catching pair!

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  3. Fabulous job! I'm so glad to see a brightly colored steampunk outfit. Not that I don't like browns, blacks, plums, etc, but I've been considering making a steampunk Pearl Forrester (of MST3k) which would feature a lot of light green.

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  4. Cool twisted fun. And the flamingo cane is gorgeous. :)

    I still have my ceramic Cheshire Cat in this color from way back then....

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  5. You two will be be a purrfect pair.

    I liked the slightly more angled grin on the sketch a little better. It might have scared kids though.

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  6. The satchel is beautiful. And that cane--wow! Will we get to see pictures of him in the dark for the full effect? Hope so. Can't wait to see pictures of your whole group. You guys are going to be fantastic.

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  7. Amazing! Creepy, a little, sure, but the cheshire cat is anyway. Does John have a tail?!? (Not that you need something else to do...)

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  8. You two are like, the coolest couple ever. A flamingo cane??? SHUT UP, I say. I can't wait to see pics of you guys in action!

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  9. I love the Cheshire cat in any form (he's one of my favorite characters):D But I've got to say that the flamingo cane is the most amazing thing I've seen in a while XD And the paint job is just as amazing as the carving! You guys rock!! :D

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  10. All I can say is WOW! You guys rock! The artistry and innovation are amazing. I commend you guys! When I grow up I want to be Jen and John! :)

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  11. I LOVE it! That cane is amazing! And I'm drooling over all the details on the hat!.

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  12. Totally AWESOME!!! That's all I can say :D

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  13. That cane is SOOOO cool!! Totally worth the little bit of extra effort! Now I want one... My father-in-law does a lot of wood-working, so I may be able to con him into that!

    You guys are going to be the talk of the town! I can't wait for more pictures of the rest of your group!

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  14. love the whole costume and the cane is AMAZING!!!
    totally want one for me to use when my knee decides to not work

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  15. I love the costume, so much work and detail.
    It reminds me of this cartoon from when I was little http://www.roobarbandcustard.tv/

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  16. I love both of your costumes! John did an excellent job on the cane!

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  17. I love that cane! Totally perfect.

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  18. ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC! nuff said.

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  19. I would have loved to see a big fluffy tail with this... maybe attached to his sleeve so you could see it from the front? The awesome cane really makes up the difference though.

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  20. Absolutely amazing. In my mind, the two of you are magical crafting wizards.

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  21. And it's another wonderful work of art! You two amaze me with your creativity! And that cane... Ah. Maze. Balls!!!

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  22. That's amazing!! I'm so impressed with John's sewing skills. Bravo!

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  23. You and John are so talented! Standing ovation!

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  24. You guys seriously need to start creating as a business (I know lol - so much to do already). But I bet you could really clean up doing this for other people :D
    ~erin kristine

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  25. Are you KIDDING us?! John sewed strips of fabric together to make a striped vest?! He carved a flamingo cane in less time than it takes me to do the grocery shopping?! What sorcery is this?! How can one person contain so much awesome?

    Both his costume and your costume are amazing, and I'm so happy that you're back and that you shared the photos with us.

    I hope you have a wonderful time at DragonCon. Can't wait to hear about it and see the pics when you get back!

    KW

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  26. Good GAWD you creative geniuses you! And that you're sharing all this is really appreciated too.

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  27. Jen, you and John need to start whipping up those walking sticks, and be prepared to ship them all over the world, because, I would happily drop $100 for one that I could use! That flamingo walking stick will haunt my dreams now!

    Hugs and kisses

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  28. And this is why you two are a perfect match for each other: you say, "I wanna be steampunk White Rabbit" and Jon helps you create it and then he says, "I want a flamingo cane" and you go and help him create it. SERIOUSLY. That thing is ridiculous and amazing all at once. It's my favorite piece!
    I tip my hat to you both! WOW! Can't wait to see pictures of you with everyone this weekend! Have a BLAST and enjoy being with Jon and all the awesome geeks. :D

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  29. Well, it's definitely creepy, but still completely amazing! I love the paint-job you did on the cane! The hat and goggles are probably my favorite details about this costume. Can't wait to see the picture of the whole Wonderland group! =-]

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  30. I hate to be a little black rain cloud, but singing leather in the oven is only a useful technique for hang-on-the-wall-type of leatherworking, as it dries out and damages the leather, and will shorten the life of the pouch. There's a lot of information out there on finishing effects for leather that won't damage it - yes, some of it is really old, but its still good.

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  31. Please provide cane details/tutorial! Love, love, love it!

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  32. Amazing how many times John has gone "eh, let's just try this" and it's worked out. He's a wizard, Jen!

    This outfit and the Dreamfinder one should hang side by side in a Disney costume show. Can't wait to see the con photos!

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  33. looks like you could make a bit just selling flamingo canes! the costumes are splendid and shiny. I think you'll both be the belles of the con.

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  34. Wow! The word amazing is going to get used up describing how talented you two are. It is all awesome, but that cane kicks it up another notch. Just like you guys, not satisfied with awesome, must go beyond with all the fabulous details.

    The men cheered, the women fainted, and the children waved multi colored flags!

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  35. That cane is awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  36. I really dig the ears. They look just incredible!
    Have fun at DragonCon. We're going to MetaCon this weekend, so we'll be exhausted this weekend as well. Go to ALL the cons!

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  37. GENIUS!!!!!!!!! Both of your outfits are brilliant :) Congrats
    Now.. if anyone dares to say one mean thing to you guys just laugh and tell yourself "I just don't care". Not caring what strangers or people you don't like is a gift I gave myself many years ago. Best thing I ever did :)
    You guys are Geektastic and you make my day, everyday!

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  38. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    SO. MUCH. AWESOME. You guys--just--
    WOW!

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  39. P.S. John's sewing skills are blowing my mind as usual.
    ... but dat cane doe!

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  40. Wow, just Wow!!! and yes, it is totally creepy. My kids all came in to check out what I was looking at online and each of them (4)shouted "What's that?!?! Creepy!!"
    But you have amazing skills, I love the leather pouch and all the little details that make your costumes so unique.

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  41. Yes, it is a bit creepy. On the other hand, John can do any facial expression he wants, and no one will be the wiser. Any. One. You. Want.
    Love all the details and the overall look.

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  42. There are not enough adjectives to fully describe how wicked awesome the costume is. Bravo!

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  43. How utterly bizarre.

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  44. This is an awesome costume! I hope I see you guys around this weekend. Dragon*Con is my favorite weekend in my home city. :)

    You guys are very talented. I purposely came to your site today to see if you would be here this weekend. I hope you both have a great time.

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  45. Love it!!

    I love the gears and springs on the hat! They are so pretty!

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  46. Wow, just wow! Did I mention WOW?! Both costumes are simply breathtaking. I think you could quit your day jobs and make millions producing and marketing cosplay ensembles. BUT DON'T QUIT CAKE WRECKS, PLEASE! ;) Well done and bravo, young lady! And HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!! (Can John whittle me a hummingbird cane?!)

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  47. Ooh, it's creepy AND pretty! I love it!

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  48. I can't describe how happy I am to have you back!! Both of your outfits are awesome and that cane is absolutely incredible! Enjoy Dragon Con -I am so looking forward to seeing all the updates!

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  49. So i have an adorable elderly aunt (mid eightiesish) who anthropomorphizes things (teddy bears, dolls, etc., etc.). She has a cane with a carved figurehead that she has named growly, who will attack your feet if you do something wrong. Just going to add my voice to the "you should make and sell canes" list, because i'm thinking how much delight she might get at adding a hot pink flamingo friend to growly and if it was affordable i might totally try to get her one to test this out.

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  50. Chess has always been my favorite (since purple's my favorite color and all!). I am so impressed by both costumes! You guys did and awesome job! Happy anniversary as well! We really would be food friends, since our anniversary is Sunday! Have a blast at DC and welcome back!

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  51. I LOVE John's creepy Cheshire! He's so rad man!
    Also, love his flamingo cane idea. I did like a one day super quickie steampunk Alice for a Wonderland themed club night many years ago and I too made a flamingo. Only mine was a golf club with some Styrofoam, batting, old tee shirts, lots of duct tape and some drinking straws. It wasn't the best thing but it was pretty cool for being a last minute idea. And everyone at the club though it was a cool idea for Alice to have a flamingo. :)

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  52. *flails with excitement*
    That is SO COOL you guys!!!

    There aren't even words for how excited I am to have you back - and I can't wait to live D*C vicariously through you guys - but but but, I am going to be in Canada and America all of summer 2016 - SO D*C 2016 HERE I COME!!!

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  53. OMG, the eyes are so creepy!! But that aside, it's a completely awesome costume. And the flamingo cane? That totally makes it!!

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  54. Very creepy, indeed! There is something about this particular costume that I do not care for but I am in no way questioning your dedication or your skills (either of yours). Wonderful job and you deserve all the admiration you've received. My favorite parts are the whiskers and the cane. I think I would only add some tuffs of fur to the mask's cheeks and maybe a big fluffy tail rigged to stay up in that perfect curl somehow. Best of luck!

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  55. I love it! I don't think you can have a Cheshire Cat based on the original Disney version that isn't creepy - because he is creepier than all get out! Even now he freaks me out a little! I especially love the gears and things on the hat!

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  56. ... I am speechless ! Both costumes are beautiful and so well done and ... planned and everything !

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  57. Great job on both costumes! Can't wait to see your DragonCon coverage, it is always fun. (and in line with what others have been suggesting, maybe a "cheshire cat tail" fur stole around the neck? Might be fun!)

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  58. Would be even better with a Tailly: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/shota/tailly-the-tail-that-wags-when-you-get-excited (The Kickstarter failed, but I suspect you guys could DIY something.)

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  59. Amazing! Can't wait to see your photos from DragonCom as I have been following your progress vicariously on Twitter!
    I want that cane - I made myself a flamingo umbrella once, but it was nothing like your cane!

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  60. Marvelous job, both of you! ALL the details, absolutely fantastic! And welcome back!

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  61. Fibre-optic whiskers are beyond genius! I hope these amazing costumes are going to get a second run for Halloween!

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  62. I really love the crisp and colorful steampunkiness of the Cheshire cat look - it's so refreshing and different from the many weathered costumes. Great job on the flamingo, too!!

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  63. Even creepier in person! Fabulously creepy! And Mom & Dad looked great, too!!

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  64. No one will notice any creepiness because they will only be looking at that fabulous cane!

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  65. right after i saw this, i saw the steampunk flamingo's on Etsy. i think they should have gone more pink ;D

    great outfits, wish i could have seen them at the Con!

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  66. Any chance y'all will be recycling these costumes at Disney this Halloween? Cosplay this good should get as much mileage as possible!

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  67. Is it wrong that I can't wait for you to get home so I can see more pictures? lol I live just outside of Atlanta, but I wasn't able to go to Dragon*Con. Can't wait to see your shots!

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  68. I'm speechless. And I mean that in the BEST way possible!

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  69. You both looked great the mechanical masquerade

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  70. It's amazing (really!), but he needs pink furry muttonchops.

    Just saying. Wish I'd thought of it before Dragon*Con.

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  71. Please do make a tutorial for the leather bag if you can!!

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  72. WOW! OMG WOW!!! LOVE the cane! Outstanding job, guys! Very impressive. Very talented! Both outfits came out great! Hope the fun was as much as you expected.

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  73. You are both Wizards. Seriously.

    "No, I've never carved anything or made anything out of leather, but here let me just THROW SOMETHING TOGETHER." *Awesomeness Achieved*

    Are you serious? Color me inspired. And also jealous, but mostly inspired. I think.

    Just Andrea

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  74. 1. Welcome back!

    2. Wow. These costumes are absolutely incredible. I am so impressed/awed/slightly intimidated by your skill and the sheer amount of work you've put into them! Which brings me to..

    3. What do you do with these costumes after the cons? You mentioned displaying John's hat in his man-cave, will you be doing the same with pieces from your costume? If you do, would you mind doing a post on it? (I have a bit of an ulterior motive for this - my husband made an arc reactor for a Tony Stark costume, and ever since, it's just been tangled up on a shelf, which gives me the Sads. I would love to see what you do with your costume-related art (and it IS art!!)).

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  75. This is awesome! And . . . kind of terrifying. I'm almost (almost!) glad I didn't see this at D*C, I'm not sure I could have handled those eeeyyyyyes . . . O_O

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  76. I love the cane!!!!

    Interested in reading about the leather bag!

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  77. AWESOME!!! I have always been fond of the Cheshire Cat. Now I want my hubby to be my Cheshire Cat! Or I to be my hubby's & then he'd be?? I dunno...Hmm...have to think on that one...and go WORK! I have to do homeschool coop tomorrow & I'm so *not* ready. AAAIIIGGHHHH! ;-)

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