Back in July, I posted about the list of summer crafting and sewing projects for LARPs that I had on my plate. Since then, I added one more to the list, and completed them all, to various degrees of satisfaction. I thought I’d write a post about how they turned out.
1. My Beholder Hood
I was cast as Bobbie the Beholder in Dungeon Owner’s Association, a short LARP that ran at Summer LARPin’ (a one day event of LARPs that ran at WPI.)
My materials included green fleece, red lining fabric, white felt for the teeth, a giant googly eye, crafting foam cones and balls (I think intended for floral arrangements), and stick-on gems. Everything came from Jo-ann Fabrics, Michael’s, and A. C. Moore.
For the base, I followed the same pattern I used for my Animal costume (for the LARP Muppet Purgatory). For all of the details, it was a lot of trial-and-error with hot glue. I used a knife to carve the foam cones into curvier, more irregular shapes for the tentacles, then covered them in fleece. I also glued circles of fleece to the balls — it was hard to get the relative size right, such that it would cover the right amount of the balls while having a bit still coming off the ball to resemble lids. The pupils were black stick-on gems.
The main giant eye-ball was hot glued on, then I rolled up some fleece and glued one piece over the edge of the top, and one over the bottom. I think adding these eyelids really helped. I cut irregular triangles out of the white felt and hot glued them inside the mouth. I tried on the hood a couple times as I did, trimming the teeth down to ensure they wouldn’t obscure too much of my vision.
I stuck the dark red stick-on gems all over for texture. Initially, I had trouble getting them off once I placed them, so I thought no additional adhesive was needed. I was wrong — they lasted for awhile, and then started shedding. I still find individual little gems popping up in random places.
Worn over a black zentai hood (to hide my face inside the mouth,) the result was actually pretty cute. I have since found other giant googly eyes, one with a cat-style pupil, and one straight up green monster (in which the pupil don’t move, sadly… I guess they’re not really “googly”.) I wish I’d seen them sooner; I’m tempted to try and replace the main eye.
But in the meantime, I completed the hood with time to spare, it resembles what it’s meant to, it got quite a reaction at the LARP, it stayed well together (except the gems), it’s pretty cute and reusable. So I’m calling this project a success.
Final Grade: A-
2. Rabbit Run Hoodie
I was cast as Strangelove for the first Little Boffer Con’s run of Rabbit Run, a dystopia/cyberpunk one-shot boffer LARP with pre-written characters. My backstory involves being a project of PryMor, the evil cyborg corporation bent on “uplifting” humanity, and I wanted my costuming to reflect that. I focused more on the cyberpunk aspect than the dystopia aspect (previous Strangeloves have gone in a heavily-distressed-thrift-store-finds direction). Maybe this Strangelove still wore the sort of sterile, uniform-ish clothing PryMor would have put them in.
I found a black scuba knit with diamond-shaped cut-outs over mesh, which looked suitably cyberpunk to me. Having NPCed Rabbit Run before, I knew the indoor boffer LARP had intense combat and could easily lead to overheating, so I figured this fabric would allow a fair amount of airflow. I also found a pretty simple, loose pullover hoodie pattern, with a big front pocket and long sleeves with holes for the thumbs.
I had never sewn with scuba knit before — it’s a pretty unusual fabric, and it took some getting used to, especially around the seams, but it’s also pretty easy to work with in many ways, which was a relief. In retrospect, I didn’t need to hem parts of it — it doesn’t shred at all, so if I was careful to cut cleanly, I could just leave the edges raw. In some places I did, and I wish I had done so for the whole thing.
The final result was pretty cyberpunk looking — in the right light, against the right background, the cutout pattern really stood out on the hood, which was nice.
I also added “PRJCT 2213” to the chest; surely PryMor would label their projects by their numerical designation. (I realized this would make it harder to re-purpose the costume later.) I was very persnickety about the color, font, and size of the embroidered letter appliques, and searched through various stores and online sites until I found one I liked. Sadly, the set didn’t have numbers, so I re-purposed a Z, an I, and an E for the numbers. Frustratingly, the set only came with one Z, so I went back and bought an additional set just to get the numbers right.
The final outfit hoodie more or less came out as I imagined, and it was comfortable enough during the LARP. I wish I’d worn it over something different to make the cutouts stand out more on my torso, but overall, I was happy with my Rabbit Run costume.
Final Grade: B+, points off for creating unnecessary bulky hems and one of the numbers peeling off
3. Harry Potter Marauders’ Map Tote Bag
Making tote bags has kinda become my thing — they’re pretty easy, even for someone of my low skill level, not too expensive (mine usually work out to around $18 in materials), pretty useful in a broad sense, and there are so many fun character prints at Jo-ann Fabrics that can make them appealing to my nerdy social circles. I’ve made Star Wars, Dr. Who, Legend of Zelda, Pokémon, Super Mario Brothers, and Marvel Comics tote bags. (It’s this pattern, by the way. I always make the biggest size.)
There was a LARP-like event that had a charity raffle during the summer, so I made another tote, this time using a fun new Marauder’s Map print that I really liked.
Sadly, I failed to coordinate with the staff member running the event, so the tote never made it there, but then I had it left over for a raffle prize for Time Bubble. (Last time, I donated the Mario tote bag.)
The sewing on the bag came out pretty cleanly, so I’m happy with the bag, and I hope the LARPers who won it in the raffle enjoy it.
Final Grade: A. But this was an easy project.
4. Pokémon Costuming: Pikachu
Years ago, I bought a zip-up yellow hoodie sweatshirt, and added ears and stripes to it, along with a detachable tail, to use as a Pikachu cosplay. I worried it would be too warm for an outdoor boffer LARP in August, so I planned to make something new from scratch (and bring the hoodie in case it got cold at night or something.)
I bought the materials to make a yellow cropped hoodie (out of a very light knit material), with ears and stripes, but for timing reasons, that didn’t materialize. Instead, I bought two yellow t-shirts and added big brown stripes to the back with iron-on adhesive. I reused my detachable tail from my old cosplay, and bought a hairband with Pikachu ears online. I didn’t realize when I ordered it, it was actually a knock-off brand — the label read “Lightning Squirrel”, but it looked just fine. It also came with a tail, much smaller than my cosplay tail, but when my cosplay tail got thoroughly soaked by the thunderstorms on Friday evening, I was really glad to have a back up.
I also painted my nails in yellow, wore my big black contacts, and yellow socks. I wish I’d managed to find comfortable yellow sneakers, yellow fingerless gloves, and maybe some yellow leggings. I did draw on a yellow poncho with black, brown, and red sharpies to create a rain-proof costume, which I think was a decent last minute addition, especially considering how much it rained that weekend. It definitely wasn’t the ambitious project I initially envisioned, but it functioned just fine.
Final Grade: B-
5. Pokémon Costuming: Raichu
This costume consisted of a purchased white and orange t-shirt, face paint, and a homemade set of ears and a tail. The ears were ad-libbed in a bit of a rush. I tried to shape them a bit… they did not come out as I’d hoped. (They have a serious Yoda vibe.) The tail came out alright, and I found a way to prop it up with a choker. I didn’t end up evolving in-game, so the costume hasn’t seen any use. I would definitely like to redo the ears if I ever did find a use for it.
Final Grade: C
6. Pokémon Costuming: Sandshrew
I made this costume for a friend. It was mostly compiled of purchased items that got altered. We ordered t-shirts in white and beige, and I drew Sandshew’s brick-like pattern on the sleeves. I also bought a khaki military cap and drew on it and painted it with fabric paint, and added little stuffed triangle ears. The tail was just a large stuffed triangle of beige flannel, with loops added for a belt. The best part was probably an armadillo shell-like backpack purchased online, which came in shiny silver, but I painted it a sandy color and added some vertical black lines. The result very much resembled Sandshrew’s rounded, armored back, and it really created just the right silhouette. The whole outfit looked very Sandshrew-ish, and also had a practical, outdoorsy kind of adventurer vibe. It was very cute, and got a really good reaction from fellow players at the LARP Pocket Monsters; The Hunted.
Final Grade: A- (points off because the belt loops on the tail were poorly done and ended up ripping by the end of the LARP)
7. Pokémon Costuming: Sandslash
In case Sandshrew evolved into Sandslash, I made a second hat with fabric paint and stuffed pieces sewn on. I also created a back piece, covered with big brown stuffed spikes to pin over Sandshew’s backpack. This was done half with a sewing machine, half with hot glue in the interest of speed and… it didn’t come out how I might have liked. I think the shape of the spikes looked a bit off, and I wish I had bought more fabric to make a lot more of them, so they’d look more densely clustered. The plan to safety pin it to the backpack also likely would have been awkward and time consuming. I think the hat looked a bit awkward as well.
Fortunately, Sandshrew didn’t end up evolving, either, so the ‘Slash costume never had to replace the much better ‘Shrew costume. There was also an NPC Sandslash who appeared on the last day of the LARP; it was less literal interpretation, but looked amazing and I wouldn’t have wanted my work compared to it.
Final Grade: C-/D
8. DEXEMBER’s new dress
Redoing most of my costume for the cyberpunk LARP, Threshold, has been on my agenda since the first event. I still haven’t redone DEX’s cropped hoodies (which were meant to represent the combat and medic drones she can pilot), but her main costume (her “social chassis”) has bits that don’t fit well and there are too many layers. So I used a super simple pattern, and made a new jersey dress in gray and orange, the colors of Vanderson Pharmaceuticals, DEX’s megacorp sponsor. I painted the Vanderson logo on the front with white fabric paint over an applique V.
The dress fits pretty well, and it’s nice and light and comfortable. Sadly, I didn’t do the best job on the sewing (I always have trouble with sleeves) and some of the fabric paint bled through to the back, so there’s a weird white streak that shouldn’t be there. I will probably eventually redo it from scratch.
Final Grade: C
Weirdly enough, I currently have no projects on my plate. But there is another tote bag in my future (Consequences has a raffle for charity every year), and Intercon S sign-ups have begun. I’d say I’m gearing up to costume for my first round pick, which has already sent out casting questionnaires, but let’s be honest — I’ve been picking up potential sewing patterns and looking over fabric options since this LARP was merely an idea…) Plus I’ve already promised to do some set dressing for said Intercon LARP, and it’s never too early to get started on those…