Thursday, December 29, 2016

My Little Gryffindor Seeker

One of the things I was looking forward to most about being a mother was getting to dress up SHB. I made a couple costumes for him when he was a baby, but ever since he started growing like a weed and taking up most of my mental energy, I haven't done much sewing for him. But since I made myself a McGonagall costume for Halloween, I figured I should make him some Hogwarts robes to match. While I identify somewhat with McGonagall, being a teacher and all, SHB's life is not much like Harry Potter's; he is loved and well fed and of course, his parents are alive. There are still some similarities, though: he is well-known at school and he sleeps in a closet.* And Harry Potter is the youngest Quidditch player in a century and SHB is definitely the youngest kid at Gryffindor Quidditch robes it was!

I don't know what to do with my hands. 

I very briefly entertained thoughts of cutting out and sewing on the letters for "GRYFFINDOR" but dismissed it after thinking for like, five seconds about how tedious it would be.

I used the hooded jacket pattern from Kwik-Sew 3127 as a basis for the robe. Following these tutorials/patterns, I slashed and spread the body and sleeve pattern pieces and cut out stripes and such. I used regular fleece from Joann's, figuring that the warmth would be nice for the end of October -- WRONG! It was still quite warm so the robe wasn't quite comfortable for SHB. Add in the fact that I made it bigger on purpose so that he could wear it next year too, and he was not happy about wearing it. Of course. After all the time I spent, too! How like a toddler! I suppose it's my own fault for treating him like a doll...but oh how cute he looks in his robe!

Why am I wearing a fleece robe when it's 70-something degrees??

I also made him a little Nimbus 2016 broom as a prop. Thank goodness for the abundance of decorative brooms in stores around Halloween; I just painted the handle and added gold duct tape, then Sharpie-d the logo and model number on.

Um, why am I holding this? (Also I can't get enough of his little curled up toes sticking out of the bottom of the robe!)

In the end, SHB got sick and didn't go trick-or-treating on Halloween at all; he only wore this costume for half an hour to take pictures a week after Halloween. Turns out it was a good thing I made it so big, then! Next year! Or maybe for a con?

Or just endless pictures with Mommy.

Trying to get my phone to do autofocus and capture opposite colors was just too much, I guess. 

What are you, a young Napoleon? 

Pattern: Kwik-Sew 3127, modified.
Fabric: 1.5 yards of burgundy fleece, half a yard of goldenrod fleece for the lining and decorations
Notions: Tiny eyelets for the front fastening and some black twill tape
Hours: At least ten. Topstitching and cutting all the stripes and such took the longest time.
Total cost: $10
Final thoughts: I think SHB looks adorable, but now that he's older and definitely has his own opinions I do feel a little bad making him wear a costume when he doesn't understand why or want to. I guess it's a good thing I don't make many for him? I always wonder how other geeky parents manage this; I see so many blog parents say things like oh, my kid loves Star Wars or Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings, but their kids are quite young. Do they actually have them watch the movies or read the books, which to my mind can be quite a bit beyond say, a kindergardener? I would love to have SHB love my fandoms, but I can't see having him sit and watch anything longer than a fifteen minute Daniel Tiger segment right now, and even then he has trouble sitting through and following the whole thing (I know this depends a lot on the child and what they're used to, but we try to keep SHB's screentime minimal so he hasn't developed that kind of attention span). I suppose one could get a simplified version of the story (how cute is this imagining of The Hobbit?), but the purist in me wants SHB's first experience to be the original medium. Any geeky parents want to weigh in on this?

*I bring SHB with me to school and he naps in a Pack-N-Play in a cozy little supply closet while I teach. This is not nearly as awful as it sounds. There are no spiders, for one.

Professor McGonagall Cosplay

[I know I was supposed to write about the costumes for Antigone, but that's just too overwhelming to think about. I was so burnt out after sewing like mad for two months that I didn't touch my machine for another five months. It wasn't until the thought of Halloween popped up that I could stand to think about sewing another costume. Thankfully, it was a very inspiring costume.]

When I found out that the Silicon Valley Symphony was doing a series of Harry Potter movie soundtrack concerts, I knew I had to make a costume, especially since the first one was during Halloween weekend! Although I briefly toyed with the idea of a femme-Snape costume, I decided to stick with one of my teacher heroines, Professor Minerva McGonagall: strict, no-nonsense, fair, high expectations, but not above the unexpected biscuit-offering. As a teacher myself, I'd rather emulate her teaching style than Snape's.

I already had a RTW black turtleneck and a thrifted long skirt that I could use for her dress, but I knew that to really get her I needed the iconic green velvet robe and the huge pointy black hat. The hat was fairly straightforward to make, even if it was annoying trying to sew all the layers of thick fabric together. I used the hat pattern from the now-OOP Simplicity 9887, but with a much wider brim, and black cotton velveteen and heavyweight craft interfacing from Joann's. The bent tip and brim were wired with floral wire to help them hold their shape, and a pheasant-feather bundle from Michael's and a random stash button finished off the look.

The robe was a little more tricky, since it was hard to find good pictures of her. I ended up watching this YouTube clip several times to get a good idea of how the seams on the back yoke of the robe looked (best shot is at 0:32-33), then modified the robe in Simplicity 9887 significantly in order to get the yoke lines and the fullness at the back, as well as the collared look in front. The sleevehead had so much excess that I was able to just gather it before inserting to get the look. I didn't bother lining it because I just wasn't feeling motivated, but in hindsight I wish I had at least lined the sleeves since the inside definitely shows.

I'm really pleased at how the collar and yoke integrate with the sleeve, but all those layers of panne velvet meant I had to topstitch everything since I couldn't press all that thickness into submission. 

I love how full the back came out, but I wish I had interfaced the front collar.
Panne velvet is cheap, but doesn't have much by way of body. 

The finishing touches were her wand and brooch. The wand was made possible thanks to a fortuitous finial find at a bead store, otherwise I have no idea how I would have mimicked the carved wood look of hers. I used superglue to attach it to some beads and a wooden dowel, then painted it all with my usual acrylic craft paints.

My finished wand compared to McGonagall's official wand. 

The brooch was definitely a lot trickier; I didn't want a goofy-looking handmade Sculpey one (McGonagall demands sharp perfection, not Becky Home-Ecky) so I asked my very talented brother if he could design and 3D plastic one. Boy, did he deliver! So many people at the concert asked where I had gotten my movie-accurate brooch! I used silver paint pens and nail polish to color it appropriately and the gems are just plastic rhinestones, and there's a brooch pin tacky-glued to the back.

I realized after assembling all these pieces that the look would be totally ruined if I had my regular purse with me, so I decided to make a book-purse as well. I bought a fake book (the kind that opens up to reveal a secret compartment) at Ross and glued on a faux-leather cover. Metal decorative corners and a carefully-calligraphed and cut out "Complete Guide to Transfiguration" bookplate completed the look. When I wore this costume to the Barnes & Noble HP Ball, I actually got stopped by a lot of people wanting to know if I had purchased my book purse there and where was the display so they could buy one too...high praise for a last-minute addition!

I based the color scheme and front cover on the movie version of A Guide to Advanced Transfiguration

When I put all of the costume pieces together, I definitely felt very McGonagall! This might be one of the most screen-accurate cosplays I've done -- enough so that people at the concert and the ball asked 1) whether I worked there, and 2) whether I got my costume at Universal, and then were subsequently amazed when I said that I made it. And of course, seeing all the smiles from little kids was the best. It was all kinds of gratifying and a fun reminder of why I loved making costumes and wearing them, even if I get strange looks en route to the event (when I met up with Elaine at an English pub before the concert, somebody called me Mrs. Harry Potter, and when I was walking through the parking lot to B&N a dude asked if I was a witch, and when I answered in the affirmative he said plaintively, "'s not Halloween!").

I know McGonagall is supposed to look stern and forbidding, but I was too excited!

Elaine in her grey cat hoodie was my Patronus. Because yes, McGonagall's Patronus is a grey tabby, and her Animagus form is also a grey tabby, so that means her Patronus is...herself. How's that for the ultimate cat lady? 
The concert was awesome, but the Barnes & Noble Harry Potter Ball was frankly quite lame. All they had was a cutout for taking pictures with, and lots of merchandise to buy. I hear other branches had funner activities like trivia contests and such. Oh well! I was able to browse all the books searching for Seraphina Picquery costume shots, though, so that was soemthing at least. 

Pattern: Simplicity 9887, but heavily modified. The brim of the hat was extended by three inches all around, and the robe is pretty much a different pattern now.
Fabric: 6 yards of forest green costume velvet for the robe, 1.5 yards each black cotton velveteen and heavyweight craft interfacing for the hat, 1/4 yard of burgundy faux-leather for the book
Notions: Feather bundle and stash button for the hat, decorative corners from the scrapbooking section for the book
Hours: Four or so for the hat, twelve-ish for the robe, three for the wand, two for the brooch, and two for the book. A lot of the time for the crafty items was spent running around to different stores getting the materials, and this is not counting all the time spent researching. So at least 25 hours total for this cosplay!
Cost: $18 for the velvet, $15 for the hat fabric, $6 for the feather bundle, $5 for the wand materials, $8 for the brooch materials (nail polish and silver pens and rhinestones), $8 for the book materials; total cost of the costume, $60. Not bad!
Final thoughts: Um, I love it? I think that's pretty obvious. SHB does not like it, though. He doesn't like it when I wear hats, and this one is pretty huge. It's a costume better suited to cold weather since it's so warm to wear all that fabric, but winter also brings rain and high winds, which is less good for long skirts and a big hat. All in all it's very comfortable but cumbersome to wear.

Since I made a McGonagall costume for myself, it was only logical that I make an HP-related Halloween costume for SHB as well. Next up: the youngest seeker on the Gryffindor Quidditch team!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Costuming The Actor's Nightmare

A long long time ago (nine years ago), I can still remember (because Facebook's On This Day feature reminded me) how the thought of costuming another drama production made me (do the opposite of) smile. I had just finished doing the costumes for Dragonwings, and since I didn't know how to sew at the time, it was a lot of going to thrift stores, hot gluing, and safety pinning. I found myself doing questionable crafts, like wrapping twine around Old Navy flip-flops to make "straw" sandals, and buying large quantities of long fake hair to braid into queues. Afterwards, I swore to never let myself be bewitched into costuming again. Hah! Little did I know, the costuming bug had bit me and after several years' incubation, I found myself once again caught up in the mad (totally exhilarating) sickness of costuming a play.

This time, it was under a new director and I had several years of sewing experience under my belt, so it was, in many ways, a totally different experience (in other ways, it was totally the same, i.e. scrambling in the weeks leading up the play trying to thrift all the things we still needed and the heady rush of seeing my costumes on stage). Since it was the fall production, it was a short play by Christopher Durang, The Actor's Nightmare. I wasn't responsible for all the costumes, thank goodness, because I only had a month or so to make everything.

For the main character, George, I made a black "Shakespearean" Hamlet outfit, consisting of a doublet and "pumpkin" pants. He also wore the pirate shirt that I made a few years ago.

My sketch.
The doublet was made using Simplicity 4059 modified for back lacing (for future adjustability) and front closures, and the elastic-waist pants were drafted using his measurements and the directions in Elizabethan Costuming by Janet Winter. I used black cotton velveteen (from Jo-Ann's) with black gimp braid trim (from Amazon), and the pants were stuffed with tulle. Total cost: a little over $100.

How it turned out IRL, albeit more crumpled than it actually looked, since the picture on the left is after pulling it out of storage for pictures, and the one on the right is after three performances. 

The two main actresses, Sarah Siddons and Dame Ellen Terry, were meant to be grand ladies in 1930s-esque evening gowns. I originally looked at my Janet Arnold Patterns of Fashion 2, EvaDress' Dinner Gown and Cape, and McCall's 7154, but then decided that they would all be too much work to fit and sew with such a limited time frame. Instead, I stuck with *gasp* stretch fabric and made do with patterns that I either had or could buy on sale at Jo-Ann's.

For Sarah, I went with a stretch velvet to mimic the luxury of 1930s starlets' gowns (turns out that I was right to do so, since the American Duchess came to a similar conclusion when making a luxe 1930s velvet dress). The skirt and back bodice piece came from McCall's 7047, and the front bodice piece was from McCall's 6963. To help hold the back of the bodice on the actress' shoulders, and because her costume required a zipper that could be undone without revealing anything, I took inspiration from this extant velvet gown:

Unfortunately, I can't find any information about this dress. 

Here's the sketch of my dress:

I didn't have the right color in my cheapo color pencil box, so this is more magenta than the burgundy it should be.

And here's how it turned out.

Cecily doesn't fill it out as well as the actress. 

A close up of the back zipper arrangement, which served to both hold the gown on the actress' shoulders, and provide a non-crucial zipper. I know it might not seem like a big deal, but I'm really proud of figuring out how to do that while still making it semi-1930s in flavor!

I'm pretty pleased with how the final gown turned out, especially considering how little time I had. I do wish I had had time to do an FBA on the bodice, and more fabric so that I could make a fuller bottom of the skirt by cutting it on the bias, but I think those are things that really only bother me. Total cost: about $50.

Ellen's dress needed to be equally glamorous, but I didn't want to use velvet again. I briefly considered some kind of satiny fabric but decided that the sheen under stage lights would emphasize any issues (I've seen way too many badly done polyester satin costumes!), so I decided that a glittery fabric would be a good compromise between luxury and being able to camouflage problem spots. I was inspired by this extant gold dress:

[picture source]

My sketch, which really only serves to illustrate how I have no idea how to draw lace:

Or hands, for that matter.

In the interest of saving myself time/money, I used a pattern I've already used for myself, McCall's 3252. It's a vintage 1970s dress pattern that I thought looked similar enough in shape to pass for 1930s-"ish" once I made some modifications. I cut the skirt into more of a trumpet shape to mimic the slim-at-the-hips-then-flaring-out look of 1930s bias cut dresses, put gathers under the bust, narrowed the straps, and cut the back into a V-shape.

While I was more pleased with my faux-1930s look with the wine-velvet dress, this dress definitely made more of a visual impact because of the glittery gold lace fabric I used. The actress playing Ellen is a bit of a tomboy, but when she walked out on stage she was absolutely transformed -- another student of mine said that she almost teared up because Ellen looked so beautiful -- which was a great reminder of what a costume can do for a performer. Total cost: about $50.

My phone did NOT like take a picture of the red velvet in the weird lighting onstage!

I made some other pieces for the play, like a grand cape for Sarah, and a white mob cap for Ellen, but the above three costumes took up the bulk of my time. I also modified my Mother Gothel dress by adding long swoopy sleeves in order to make it more fantasy-medieval. The rest of the costumes were rented or purchased, thank goodness! I was so short on time (during the week I could only sew when SHB was asleep, and his naps don't last that I had actual other work to do, like grading and lesson planning) that even with my husband and in-laws doing lots of babysitting on weekends, I didn't finish sewing up the last costume until two hours before opening. Talk about cutting it close!

Mob cap and Gothel dress make an appearance in the closing night cast photo.

After all of that stressful rushing (but still exciting, as I thrive on the last-minute push before a deadline), I decided that I was going to make sure that the next time I costumed a play, I would be much more methodical about organizing my time and tasks so as to reduce the stress for both me and my family. Stay tuned for a look at the costumes from the spring production: a post-apocalyptic Antigone...

Saturday, July 9, 2016

"Captain America Goes to the Gym" Shorts

I've been experiencing a serious lack of sewjo ever since I sewed up SHB's Tako Hat (which was over a month ago). I've got a pile of underwear cut out but the thought of assembly-line sewing such boring basics (that nobody will even get to see!) was too boring to stomach. So I signed up for Gillian's sewing dares, hoping for a kick in the pants (shorts?). I think it worked, because her dare for me was to sew something 1) selfish, that 2) I missed from my pre-baby wardrobe. I haven't sewn a pair of pants since before SHB was born, but I didn't want to jump right back in with a fitted pair and have to deal with a fly front. I also only have one pair of woven shorts that fits me right now, and those are white, which is pretty much a no-no if you're running after a sticky-handed toddler all day. I knew I needed something relatively fast and easy to jump start my sewing, so I settled for elastic-waist shorts in a dark color to fit the gap in my wardrobe.

I used the City Gym Shorts pattern from Purl Soho (thanks to Leah of Struggle Sews a Straight Seam for cluing me in to this free pattern's existence!) and some scrap navy fabric leftover from my Han Solo pants. Since I was sewing the night before Independence Day, I figured I would patriotize them by choosing an appropriate color trim. I was going to do either plain red or white, but serendipitously Heather posted the tutorial that Sew Tawdry did for a two-color trim application. Her instructions were the perfect inspiration that I needed to dress up my shorts.

Exposure upped to show the crotch fit, although the actual colors are more accurate in the first collage.

Pattern: The free City Gym Shorts by Purl Soho
Fabric: 1/2 yard of navy blue cotton twill from stash
Notions: A little less than a yard of 1" elastic, purchased at a grocery store in Italy, and vintage red and white bias tape inherited from another sewist's stash. I had exactly two inches of tape left at the end, which was good, because they don't make all-cotton bias tape anymore.
Hours: Four, mostly because of fiddling with the trim, then messing up irreparably and having to cover my mistake with a piece of grosgrain ribbon so that it looked like an intentional "label." And then having to unpick the waistband to shorten the elastic because I blindly followed the directions on the pattern without thinking to check the length first on myself.

And then my topstitching went all wonky on my "label," so I had to go back and fix that after SHB went to bed. 

Will you make it again? Yes, because I love the length and ease of these shorts! Although probably not with the fussy trim. I also want to smooth out the "J" of the crotch curve a little bit more, since I still see some pulling there.
Total cost: Free, because stash. Go me!
Final thoughts: I'm pretty sure my dad had gym shorts like this in the 70s, which is a thought that's neither here nor there, but still worth mentioning; it's probably why I find this look so vaguely familiar and slightly repellant? At any rate, I know these look like sporty lounge-at-home shorts, and not going-out shorts, but let's face it, all I'm going to be doing is chasing SHB around at the zoo this summer, so these are fine for that purpose.

This is what was going on in the background while I was taking pictures:
SHB was running around throwing his toy animals on the floor.

Thanks for the #SewingDare, Gillian -- it worked!

Okay, so I wrote everything above when I sewed up these red-white-and-blue shorts the night before Independence Day, and then I saw all the horrifying news earlier this week. Even though I had my pictures ready to go on the evening of July 5, I couldn't bring myself to post this entry yet; this was meant to be a patriotic pair of shorts, but I was having a really difficult time with America in general and it felt disingenuous to be posting something so rah-rah. I still don't have anything coherent to say about the tragedies of this week, but then I thought about Captain America: Civil War, and Steve Rogers' faith in people and how he tried his hardest to do what was right, his genuine grief over everyone who died on his watch, and I decided I was okay with making them Captain America shorts. I'd like to think Captain America would be all about #blacklivesmatter; also how dorky is it that I was vaguely comforted by a fictional superhero?

Monday, July 4, 2016

Tako Hat!

After I went through all the trouble of painting/sewing/crafting up a marine-themed nursery for SHB, it turns out that the ungrateful (but still incredibly cute and lovable) bugger couldn't care less about ocean animals. His current loves are African savannah animals and barnyard animals; the former are just so dramatically huge and recognizable when we see them at the zoo, and the latter all make fun noises. SHB loves finding out what noises animals* make, and while I can do a credible whale imitation, there's really nothing I can do for crabs, fish, seastars, and sharks. We did decide that shrimp say "hahaha," as a play on the Cantonese word for shrimp, .

Anyway, hope must spring eternal, because when AJ of Confused Kitty Creations, who has long been one of my cosplay crushes, asked for testers for her new toddler sewing pattern, I immediately volunteered to sew, of all things, a 1) hat, for my kid who hates anything on his head, with 2) an octopus on it, because apparently I haven't yet learned my lesson. It was a fairly quick and easy project, even with the instructions in beta, and it was such a nice change to work with a pattern where all the notches and pattern pieces lined up perfectly! I've worked with too many patterns (including those of my own sloppy drafting) where I have to manhandle and ease pieces to get them to work, but this one didn't require any such fudging. The fit was also perfect for the recommended size for SHB's age, i.e. just a little bit of ease, and he's got a rather large head for his age.

I tried to play with the color on the image so that you see my less than stellar stitching on the face pieces. 

Pattern: Tako Sun Hat
Fabric: Scrap cotton fabric in my stash, quilting weight, plus a little bit of high quality felt for the facial features
Notions: A tiny piece of Velcro for the strap, interfacing for the brim
Hours: Maybe three? I made it a while ago, so I don't really remember.
Total cost: Free, since it was all from stash.
Final thoughts: Well, I adore it, even if SHB doesn't. Because as I really should have predicted, he wouldn't have any of it. He thought it was funny to put on for about five seconds, and then he pulled it off and refused to let me put it back on.

This is pretty much the only normal photo I got. 

He pulled it off before I could do the straps.

I have about fifty more photos that are variations of the blurred-toddler-trying-to-pull-off-the-hat theme.

He did think it made a great barnyard animal toy transporter, though. 

Look at that self-satisfied smile in the last one!

Thankfully, cats make much more patient models (now there's a phrase I never thought I'd type), even if they don't really know how to wear hats.

Fenxi is not impressed.

Gummy is resigned. Or is he resentful?


*SHB also wants to know what noises inanimate objects make, e.g. the ceiling, puzzle pieces, whiteboard markers, hats, etc.

[Disclaimer: I received this pattern for free in exchange for testing it for the designer, but all opinions are mine. I was not required to write about it on my blog; I just think it's really cute, and who doesn't want to see a picture of a cat in a hat?]

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Silicon Valley Comic Con!

Let's just wrap up all unfinished, lingering costumes and their respective blog entries, shall we? SVCC was two months ago, and I never got around to blogging my costumes from that, either.

[pc: Edwin Fabian]

I pretty much decided right from the start that I absolutely HAD to go to the first ever Silicon Valley Comic Con. The only other big convention I've ever been to was the San Diego Comic Con, and that was where the cosplay bug first bit me, so I was pretty thrilled that there was finally going to be a big con up in the Bay Area. And then I found out that Nathan Fillion was going to be there, and that was that, because I seriously love Firefly like no other. So the obvious thing to do was to make the Browncoat that I've been wanting ever since I first saw the show.

I started with my bodice sloper from Lynda Maynard's class at Canada College and added in a yoke, then Frankensteined it together with the collar and front of Simplicity 2895. It turned out pretty well, considering there's no tailoring to speak of in the collar and lapels, but it's definitely a costume coat. It's too flimsy-feeling to be real outerwear, but that was a good thing since it was ridiculously warm in the San Jose Convention Center. Mr. Cation and I made the questionable decision to bring SHB along (baby's first con! And wearing the Blue Sun shirt I made for him, except that it was more of a 3/4-sleeve crop top since he's grown a lot in the last half-year) so that he could be exposed to the germs of 30,000 other, I mean the wonders of geeky fandom early in his life.

I had grand plans to make or thrift Captain Malcolm Reynolds' classic burgundy button-down shirt, too, but that never happened. Instead, I settled for wearing my hand-painted Serenity shirt with khaki tightpants.

I found a Kaylee at the con! Also, this is the only picture I have of me wearing the coat, since shortly thereafter it became way too warm. 

Not a bad likeness, considering that I didn't pay hundreds for a leather hide, right? 

It was so fun being at a big con with all sorts of excited geeks and cool art and merchandise in the exhibit hall, and of course getting to see Nathan Fillion in his panel. He was funny and self-deprecating and had fantastic quips, and was wonderfully patient with people who were nervous and overly excited to ask questions. We didn't feel like paying almost $200 for a photo op/autograph, though, so that's as close as we got to him.

Fabric: A thrifted JC Penney faux-suede curtain panel as my fashion fabric, pieces of a thrifted leather skirt (leftover from my aviator hat) for the cuffs, and part of a thrifted cat-print bed sheet for the underlining. I think Malcolm Reynolds would totally have been on board with thrifting, and cats would definitely be Browncoats and not Alliance, right?

Inside-out: SHB is slightly obsessed with cats so he had to find and point out to me all the cats on the underlining.

Facing tacked to the underlining, with frolicking cats.

I almost forgot to put in a side seam slit like the original coat. 

I used grosgrain ribbon as my hem tape. I'm considering threading a chain or something into the bottom hem to help it hang better, since the faux-suede is so lightweight. But given that the event is over, I'm unlikely to anytime soon. 

Notions: Interfacing for the collar and facing pieces, brass cloak clasps for the closures.
Hours: Probably 15-20? There was a lot of stitching seams multiple times, what with all the basting of the underlining, Hong Kong seam finishes, and topstitching. I also hand-sewed the facing to the underlining.
Total cost: $5.99 for the curtain panel, maybe a couple dollars' worth of sheet and skirt. The clasps were the priciest part at $14, bringing the total up to about $25.
Final thoughts: I've been wanting to make a browncoat ever since I first saw Firefly back in 2008? 2009? And I finally did it! It's not as perfect as I would like, but it was cheap, green, and fun to wear. Also, I could not for the life of my find my Teflon foot while making this, so all the suede and leather was not happy. Of course, as soon as I finished I found the dang foot. Because of course.

On the second day of the con, Mr. Cation stayed home with SHB and I got to cosplay my heart out with my good friend Alice, who wore my Galadriel costume, and Elaine, who went as the Winter Soldier Lite. She had a black leather jacket that I added a silver sleeve to, in order to suggest Bucky's mechanical arm. It was perfect because she actually does speak Russian! I decided that, in the vein of finishing up incomplete costumes, I would finally make the trident and crown for my Ursula costume. I spray-painted PVC pipe for the former, then added gold duct-taped foam tips, and used more gold tape on foam to make a crown shape, which was then attached to a headband. Since I didn't want to deal with contacts all day (ever since pregnancy, my eyes have randomly decided they hate contacts), I just wore my glasses and dubbed my outfit Hipster Ursula. At the last minute, I decided to add some googly eyes to a piece of gray fleece and crammed my "poor unfortunate soul" into a Mason jar to make a hipster potion to complete the hipster look.

[pc: Edwin Fabian]

And here's proof that hipster Disney characters is actually a thing. 

We had such a good time attending panels (including a fantastic one on cosplaying when over 30, and another very useful one on types of materials one could use for building armor and props), wandering the exhibit hall, and both stopping people for pictures and being stopped for our pictures! It was Alice's first time cosplaying and I think it was a generally positive experience. Unfortunately, there was one really creepy guy at the end of the day who spoiled an almost perfect run on non-creepy interactions (why is there always one???). Sigh.

Thinking about being creepy? Just STOP. #cosplayisnotconsent
(We found "Do Not Pass" Gandalf!!!)

The nicest part of the day was when little kids stopped me for pictures. I loved cosplaying Dr. Blitzmeyer at my last con, and LOTR characters at all the movies and the symphony, but those were either not well-known or mostly adult audiences. There's just something about dressing as a Disney character, even if it's not screen-accurate, that makes it so much easier to engage with people. Which, of course, is why I love cosplay: it's a chance for shy, introverted me to pretend to be someone I'm not!

I heard a little girl walking by with her mom say, "Mommy, look, it's the sea witch!"
[pc: Edwin Fabian]

There are still so many Disney characters I still want to cosplay -- Maleficent, Cruella, Jasmine, Mulan, Captain Hook, The Queen of Hearts, and Queen Elinor...there's just not enough time! Also, can you tell I like villains, the color red, and strong female characters?