What an adventure! As my first ever cosplay, I guess I didn't know what I was getting myself into - but I loved every minute of it! I chose Moxxi because I LOVE her attitude, character and costume design - she's so much fun, sexy, sensual and DANGEROUS! Also, as a bonus, her nice brown hair meant no wig necessary! I have started posting a full detail explanation on my blog (http://crankypantschronicles.blogspot.ca), with pictures and everything, but here's the summary, from start to finish, warning, this will be long winded:
I REALLY wanted to be as accurate as humanly possible, so I researched and researched, and took countless pictures of Moxxi in game (both games, all locations she appears, from every angle I could imagine). As it was, I missed a bit here and there, and ended up having to go back several times so catch the little details.
I started with the spats. I got all the material and pieces from my local fabricland, and made a pattern based on an online tutorial - put stockings on over my shoes, duct taped my leg where I wanted the spats to cover, marked the center back and sides and cut it off, traced on to cardboard (adding seam allowance) and cut it out! Easy peasy. White denim, yellow bias tape (accidentally bought single fold, which sucked), black buttons, white zipper. Though this step was much later, I cell shaded them with acrylic paint and black fabric marker, and blood spattered with a mix of red, orange and brown acrylic paint, fabric medium, and water. Spattered on with toothbrush and paintbrush. I also added small elastics on the under side to keep them in place, and coloured the elastic with sharpie to blend with my shoes. The only little mistake I made here was forgetting to take the size of the socks and stockings I was wearing under the spats, so on the day they were a touch tight, but no big deal.
Next was the jacket. I ordered the fabric - a purple silk brocade with rose pattern (I couldn't find a hibiscus pattern like Moxxi's so I figured any floral would do) - from a seller on etsy after finding nothing acceptable at any of the local shops.
The jacket I based off Simplicity Misses 2072 - which ended up working, but I didn't realize that the costume was a cropped jacket and underdress, not a whole piece. I made the jacket as directed (minus the liner and facing, even though I should have made a liner, and ended up doing so later), then I made the "middle" of the dress, extending the panels downward as necessary to accommodate my hips and make the front panel and tails, and adding an extra middle panel to attach the left breast to. I sewed the top and middle directly together to make one piece, with the front open.
After the fact, I decided that I did in fact need a liner, and made it by tracing the panels directly from the jacket. I had a friend tailor the outside of the jacket so it would actually fit me, then painted the stripes.
The stripes took a lot of experimentation to settle on a working mix of paints that would darken without covering the pattern of the fabric or being black. The final recipe ended up being - blue acrylic paint, red acrylic paint, fabric medium, and gloss. I was worried the gloss would make the stripes shiny, but it served to thin the paint enough that the stripes wouldn't show up as black. I used painters tape to mark out my stripes, and placed the jacket on a hangar with a plastic dry cleaning bag inside to avoid bleed through, and bags in the sleeves for the same reason. I did my best to emulate the stripe pattern from the game, and then went to town with my paint mixture - I was SO stoked with the result, nice, even, perfect!
Once I had the liner together, it was time for bias tape! DOUBLE sided yellow bias tape and a million pins were the order of the day. I used wire coat hangars to make the tails shapable, made a bead of hot glue on each end to keep them from poking out, and sewed them in the bias tape. The bumps along the cleavage were added by sewing rick rack to the back of the bias tape before it was sewed on. The liner didn't end up being quite as exact as I had intended, and mucked up the tailoring, so my friend and I ended up cutting out the mid-section to smooth the jacket back out, leaving only the tails and top lined. We were able to get the zipper installed and the jacket finally fit properly! (We put it in under the bias tape down the front of the jacket).
The cuffs were made with striped fabric I found at my local fabricland, I made my own pattern out of printer paper, got a "cuff" to my liking, then traced it out of fabric, adding seam allowances and medium weight fusible interfacing for a little stiffness. The collar was made of the same white denim I used for my spats, and modified the pattern from the jacket. I added heavyweight fusible interfacing, then painted the black stripes on using painter's tape, black acrylic paint, and fabric medium. I painted on the spirals on the cuffs and collar with white acrylic paint, turquoise acrylic paint and fabric medium. Then I sewed them in place, and sewed the cuffs closed to the appropriate level.
The patches were made from the white denim and fusible interfacing, and were painted with acrylic paint and fabric medium, ironed on and tacked down the corners with black thread. It took a while to figure out the pattern for the center back patch, but I got it after a few tries (drew it on in pencil, then painted over it with fabric paint).
The buttons! I tried so hard to find buttons that were satisfactory, but they were never the right size, or shape, and even "next best thing" options were either $2+ each or were going to take too long to order online - so I made my own. They were made out of polymer clay, baked, painted with acrylic paint (complete with cell shading, ten smaller black buttons and one huge turquoise and yellow one), and glossed to perfection! The next part was less perfect - first, I miscalculated the spacing, and didn't check before placing. Oops. THEN, as Moxxi doesn't have thread on her buttons in the game, I decided to sew smaller buttons on to the jacket, and glue the proper buttons on to them - to avoid the thread. Well, it could have worked out, but hot glue was a bad choice, and I didn't realize that until it was too late. Over the course of the con, I lost three, and almost lost a fourth (saved by duct tape). Both of these issues will be fixed before I wear it again - I'll make three new buttons, move all the buttons to their proper place, and glue them on with e6000 instead of hot glue.
From there, all the jacket needed was finishing touches! A hook and eye closure to hold in my chest (a snap just wasn't good enough), and a couple of snaps to keep the underbust closure in check, then a little cell shading with a black fabric marker on the cuffs, collar, and bias tape. I meant to do more cell shading, but ran out of time.
I bought a belt (after a VERY long and frustrating search... Apparently asking for a western style buckle on a brown belt is too much. Men's stores, department stores, second hand stores, NOTHING) at my local Moores. It was a reversible belt, black on one side, brown on the other - good enough, and on a 50% off sale, too! I made the buckle out of polyclay, scored the pattern into it, baked it, and painted it. I had installed wires on the back to secure it to the belt, but one broke, and I hot glued it on to secure it in the meantime. I trimmed the end of the belt so nothing would stick out on the outside of the buckle. I painted the cell shading on with acrylic paint!
The hat was made out of craft foam. I started with a poster board prototype which I made to test out size and shape, then used as a pattern for the craft foam. I used left over fabric from the jacket and sewed a cover for the top and a cover for the brim. The hat band was made with the same fabric as the cuffs, and put on the top before I hot glued the fabric in place. I heat shaped the brim with an iron (after the fabric was on it already) and hot glued the brim on. I sewed a hair clip into the back to keep the hat in place, but would use more than one in the future.
I made the Queen of Hearts out of posterboard, and coloured it with watercolour pencil crayons. I bought the feathers in a pack, then cut them to shape and painted them as accurately as possible. Finally I hot glued them to the back of the card, and hot glued the card to the inside of the brim. For the fun of it, I drew a vault symbol pattern on the back of the card in marker.
The garter needed to be made before the holster, because it needed to be sewed into a loop on the back of the holster to keep it snug to the leg. Super easy, I used wide black elastic and wide black stretchy lace. I stretched the elastic around my leg to size it, and measured out a greater amount of lace - Stretched out the elastic, pinned the lace, and sewed it on with a zigzag stitch, and sewed it into a loop. Voila! Garter!
The holster was made out of black pleather (vinyl I guess) . I sketched out the shape and measured the dimensions based on the pictures (literally measured on my monitor for the proportions). I cut my front pattern out, and made a single piece to wrap around the front, back, and rear "side," and a piece to wrap around the front "side" and bottom. Loops were sewn onto the "back" of the holster, one for the belt, and one for the garter. The one for the garter was sewn on with the garter already in it, effectively attaching it permanently. I lined each piece with fabric liner and made plastic pieces to stiffen the inside and help the holster keep its shape. Now, I'm not sure what I could have done differently, but I put these pieces in while I was sewing the holster together, then, had to turn it right side out with the plastic pieces already inside - which was a ROYAL pain. Maybe next time I would put the plastic pieces in afterward, then sew them along the top edge to keep them in place. I painted it with acrylic paints on all sides to achieve the cell shaded look, and add the heart and "Rubi" markings. I wish it were a touch stiffer, but in size, shape, and paint job, I LOVE how it turned out!
The bra was a little difficult, as you only really see a peek in game. I looked for a stripy gray bra. Or a gray bra with some variation in it. Or a gray bra with black lace. Nothing doing. So I picked up a plain gray bra from La Senza, and painted gray stripes on it, and darker gray swirls (as that kinda looks like what the pattern might be?) and sewed black lace to the top of each cup - I LOVE how perfect it looked, and I felt like it added some real authenticity to my bust line!
The choker and waist tie were made from velvet ribbon (in brown as they were out of black), with the choker being secured by velcro.
For straight purchases, I bought the stripy legging(s) off of ebay, and had the fishnet already. I bought black thigh highs to wear under the fishnet as that's what it looks like on Moxxi, and artfully cut the hole in the appropriate place on the day of. For the gloves, though I tried to find more accurate ones, I ended up just walking into a sport store and picking up the cheapest pair of black, semi-accurate fingerless gloves they had. Finally, I found the lacy turquoise panties at La Vie En Rose - done and done.
And that's it for construction - hours and hours of bloody work. Totally worth it, but very involved, especially for someone without a lot of experience with using patterns and sewing garments - the last time I used a pattern was about 13 years ago when sewing a pair of shorts for home economics... Oh well - you never get better if you never try anything! I think all the painting was my favourite part - I love painting, and this costume needed a lot of it! Speaking of painting, this takes us to the morning of!
Make up is NOT my forté. I don't wear it very often, and don't usually go too complicated when I do, so I needed to pick up a lot of stuff. I got the white "Disguise Stick" facepaint (water based) from Audrey's, and the rest - eye shadow, blush, bright freakin' red lipstick, liquid eye liner, and a pack of brushes - from Wal Mart. I used a kitchen sponge to sponge on the white (as I'm a dork and forgot sponges) and it took a while to get a nice even layer. I used various shades of pink on the eyes, and used the liquid eyeliner around the edges - I'm not so great with liquid eyeliner, and ended up dabbing it off my eye with toilet paper a few times. Big pink circles for the blush (I don't think these were quite pronounced enough, and felt they were a little lost in some pictures) and I also used pink around the edges of the face, especially on the chin and forehead, to emulate the colouring on Moxxi's face. And of course, liquid eyeliner for the "tears" and cell shading around the nose. I used Rimmel "Jet Red" on my lips, and lined around the lips and on the underside of the upper lip with the liquid eyeliner. The cell shading on my chest was also liquid eyeliner, but the heart was all in acrylic paint.
Finally the hair; not that you can actually tell from the pictures thanks to the damn humidity, I had straightened my hair and flipped out the ends with a hair straightener, then coated the lot with max hold hairspray to set... But by the time we got in to the con, that was pretty much negated thanks to the weather.
The last detail, I actually did in line - black nailpolish. I had run out of time and knew Julian wanted to get a move on early, so I brought it along, and had him hold the bottle while I brushed it on!
All in all, I love how it turned out, and was super happy, especially for my first cosplay! It was really well received at Ottawa Comiccon, and my husband and I could scarcely walk five steps without someone looking for a photo op! It's almost sad pouring this much time, effort and heart into something and then having the event over and done with - but I'll surely find more excuses to wear it! That said, before my next Moxxi outing (photoshoot with a friend) I plan on: re-making the hat to be a little shorter, and not quite as curled in the brim, fixing the placing and gluing of the buttons, actually making Rubi (as I had planned and bought a base gun and LEDs for), and probably getting someone else to do my hair. More photos when that finally happens, until then, you stay classy, sugar!
Ottawa Comiccon 2013 Workmanship - Best Use of Paint