Friday, October 16, 2015

Teen Titans - Raven's Leotard

For Raven's leotard (unitard?) I really, really wanted to steer clear of the spandex dance unitard look. I choose to make it from pleather, both to match everyone else and to be more flattering than clingy spandex. I was lucky enough to find a soft, stretchy pleather in a beautiful slate blue.

The first thing I did was find a free bathing suit pattern. I was worried about drafting the butt/crotch area from scratch, so I picked a french cut swimsuit to base my pattern pieces on.

Taping my printed pattern together.

I cut all the pieces out from a scrap section of blue non-stretchy cotton. That way I could adjust the pattern as needed without ruining my good fabric. (Plus, I could use it for the lining!)

Adjusting the original pattern

As you can see, I extended my pattern pieces so that the leotard would have a high neckline. Once I had the fit the way I wanted it, I used my lining fabric as a pattern and cut out all my pleather pieces. 

I cut the sides out from black pleather...

...and the front from my slate blue.

I wanted to add a little more texture to certain panels of the leotard, so I bought some black tulle with and laid it over some of the blue fabric. 

Looks more badass now

I used some leftover shiny black pleather to create piping to go between the panels.

Don't forget to clip your curves so they lie flat!

Added some top-stitching to all the seams...

With all the different textures and piping

I used a big industrial zipper to hold it together in the back, with an overlap of fabric to cover it. I didn't worry too much about it being "pretty," since I planned on wearing a cape. Also zippers are my bane.

Now I actually had something I could properly try on, which meant it need last minute fitting adjustments. Multiple times.... >.<

Fitting something tightly when the fabric has as little give as my pleather did is a long process. Don't be disheartened! Use big stitches until you're sure you like it, and keep trying! Also, don't top-stitch too early, or you'll be doing what I did and pulling out three seams for every one you want to adjust. T_T

Finally, the fit was good!

Almost done!

The last things I wanted to add were some additional panels over the shoulders.

Edging the panels with piping

Don't forget top-stitiching!

 I positioned the panels so that the lines drew upward and inward toward the neck, creating a focal point for her neck gem (and hopefully minimizing the width of my shoulders).

From the front...

...and the back.

With some trim to finish the edges of the neck and the armholes, it was (basically) done!

Just needs gems!

Lastly, I had to trim the thigh curve to the right height, and stitch the crotch together. This was one of the absolute last things I did before the con (like, I think it was Saturday morning at 9 AM) so there are no pictures of that.

But there are plenty of the final leotard in action!

Photo credit: South of Autumn

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Teen Titans - Beast Boy's Gloves, Boots, and Animal Accessories

My original Beast Boy design looked like this:

I wanted to stick with his color scheme from the Teen Titans cartoon, while bringing in more details (y'know, the usual). I wanted to keep a realistic look to the outfit, especially with what I had done with Robin's jacket, so I choose to paint his boots and gloves rather than making them from scratch.

For the boots, I used an ancient pair of motor boots I had lying around. Honestly I had meant to throw these out years ago, and had put them by the back door and forgotten about them. It's not hoarding if you eventually use it!

Old and gross

The first step was cleaning the boots: first with soap and water, then with rubbing alcohol on all the areas I was going to paint. I re-polished the black areas with black shoe polish to make them look nice and shiny. (Oh, plus gluing the soles back together since they were literally falling apart).
I used a cotton ball to paint the tongues with silver acrylic, so I could do a light coat but avoid brushstrokes.

Cover areas you don't want paint on!

I used a brush to apply purple leather paint (Leather Studio from Joann's) to all the areas I wanted purple.

It took a couple of coats...

(L) Two coats, (R) Just one

Being Harley Davidson boots, they had the Harley logo on them. I used hot glue to fill in all the crevices of the logo, then painted over with Doom Patrol! (I also repeated this logo on his Doom Patrol side bag, for carrying swag around the con).

Lastly, I painted the soles with the silver acrylic:

Like new, only better!

 I approached the gloves the exact same way, with the same paints. Unfortunately, I did not have any old black gloves lying around, so I bought new motorcycle gloves. I tried to get a pair with lots of "sections" to paint, and nice big cuffs.

Thanks Amazon!

One coat of purple

Additional coats of purple. Trying to decide on how to do the wrist strap.

Filled in the wrist strap with silver. All done!

I had grand plans for a moving tentacle arm, but of course these fell through due to time constraints and the fact that I had no idea how to even start with that kind of prop. I settled on a fuzzy animal hand/glove instead, because it was more sewing, less prop-y.

I started with intensely green fun fur. If I had known then how much fun fur I would inhale over the course of the project, I may never have started....

I traced a hand shape out....

... and sewed it into a glove. Yes, it was at that point I realized I didn't need to paint two leather gloves.

The dreaded muppet hand

This was way, WAY too fluffy. I trimmed it a bunch, highlighted it with lime green screen printing ink, and hit it hard with hairspray to avoid inhaling any more fuzz.

On the palm, I used hot glue to hold the fibers down and create a skin texture, similar to a gorilla palm (???). I painted this to match the skin color I was planning on using for BB's make-up.

Last bit was the nails. I bought a set of those plastic "witch fingers" and was planning on removing the nails and attaching to my glove. Unfortunately, I made the glove fingers too short, so I ended up using the entire finger tip to create more space. First I painted the fingers....

Paint does not stick to rubber very well, FYI.

Highlights and shading are important!

...and attached the fingers to the gloves with hot glue (which means the fingers are now falling off, so gotta fix that...)

The last piece was the ears, which were red devil ears that I painted to match everything else. Again, rubber does not take paint very well, so they'll definitely need touch ups later.


All done!

Teen Titans - Casting Resin Gems

For both Starfire and Raven, I needed gems. Big, fabulous gems! I decided the best way to do this would be to cast them out of resin myself, so I could customize the size, color, and shape. I'd never done anything with resin before, but it seemed fairly straight-forward to learn, so I bought a bunch of two-part clear resin and went to work.

The exact kind of resin I bought.

Based on my designs, I knew I wanted to make the two styles of gems as different as possible from each other to reflect Starfire and Raven's different backgrounds. I stuck with bright green for Starfire, to mimic her Teen Titans TV show look, and dark red for Raven. Starfire's would be oval; Raven's circular. Starfire's would be smooth, and Raven's faceted. And so on. Tamaran and Azeroth are distinctly different places, and I wanted the outfits to show that as much as possible.

Ovals are easy to find, so I bought a mold for Starfire's small gems.

Way more shapes than I needed.

The big ones turned out to be a problem. I wanted them to be about 3" the long way, but struggled to find a resin mold that big. Then I realized I could use a silicone cooking mold instead!

Yay, totally big enough!

Obvious, this mold was huge, so I decided to just fill it up part way, varying how much resin I would use depending on what size gem I wanted. That way I could have a variety of sizes.

Finding a faceted gem mold was much, much harder. I simply couldn't find anything I liked. I just wanted the gems for Raven to look like the top of a faceted diamond. So I made my own molds!

Easy to use, two-part mold putty!

My sister has a bunch of medium sized diamonds from her D&D campaign, so pressed the tops of those into the mold putty to make my small gem molds. For the big gems on Raven's belt, I had to buy a diamond that was massive:

This diamond goes on to feature in many Catwoman photoshoots

Some finished molds

Now that I had molds, the next step was to figure out how I was going to color the resin. I read that just using paint would mess up the resin somehow, but I had some wax dye from making candles, so I figured that might work just fine.

Wax dye is super concentrated, so the first (right) try was too dark, and the second, lighter color was still not right at all. 

Nowhere near that electric space green that I wanted

Okay, where am I going to get neon green? I just want it to be just like the color I used to highlight my Hordes troll miniatures....

Wait, could I just use that? I mean, I didn't care if the gems were "cloudy" since I wasn't putting the resin over anything...

Privateer Press model paint to the rescue!

It worked amazingly well. Totally nailed the color. (I used Necrotite Green, for those interested).

Luckily, the deep red for Raven was easily achieved with my wax dye.

One of the most important things about resin is that it won't set up properly if the parts are not equally measured and mixed. I guess I'm a bit of a scientist at heart, because I figured the best way to do this was to use giant syringes (the kind usually used for children's medicine or whatever). I labeled them so that I didn't have to wash them, I just used them over and over for their respective parts. It was great, because not only was it perfectly even, but I could be like "small gems need 25 ml of each" and have them all be exactly the same size.

Then it was time to go crazy and make them all! I knew I'd need a lot of small ovals for Starfire (around 20) so I made a couple molds of my ovals so I could make four at a time.

Gem bonanza!

 For Raven's gems, I really wanted to add a little something extra, since dark red isn't very visually interesting. It doesn't really pop the way neon green does. I bought a beautiful resin brooch for my Snow White costume, which had moonstone fragments inside. It caught the light in a really nice way, and I wanted to replicate that. I settled on using cellophane glitter flakes--nice, big ones--in pink.


I pour a little resin into each mold, then sprinkled copious flakes in on top. The rest of the resin was poured over the glitter. If there were bits of glitter poking up, I pressed them into the resin with a toothpick.

All finished!

The various gem sizes for Raven

Most of the Starfire gems

I covered all the gems with a polyurethane clear varnish for extra shiny. I also had LEDs that I was going to use to light up Starfire's armor, but I ran out of time to incorporate that into the costume.

So shiny!

The last piece for all the gems was the setting. It took me a few tries for each to get it right....

Hot glue and gold paint = NO

For Raven's small gems, I settled on brass wire held together with copper tape.

Wrapping the wire took all day basically

On a finished glove!

For the bigger belt gems, I cut the settings out of sheet brass:


It was hard, and I'm not particularly comfortable with metal working, but I think it turned out okay!

I used copper tape to hold the metal to the gems, just like the smaller ones.

On the finished costume:

For Starfire, I settled on rubber rings painted silver, and covered with silver car vinyl.

For the bigger gems, I cut out craft foam settings, which I painted and covered.

Finishing touches were rhinestones! Moar rhinestones!

On the finished arm cuff: