This kid. Man, he’s the bee’s knees AND the cat’s pajamas. This weekend we were artist vendors at Gamga Con in Greensboro, NC and it was such an amazing adventure! We’d been on the waitlist and found out that Monday that a space had opened up and we could join them. It was fantastic! Jack, the bee’s knees, was super pumped and when we told him that there was a cosplay contest, he asked if he could dress up. We’ve attended conventions and anime cons before, but never as vendors, and for some reason, never as cosplayers. Of course we said yes! We can prep for a show and create an entire costume in one week. Of course we can. BECAUSE WE’RE INSANE!
Our schedules were crazy – it was the last week of school for the boy and I had PTA events at the school almost every day – so we weren’t actually able to begin working on his costume until Thursday. This meant a 2 day build. WAAAAAA!
I really wish I’d taken pictures of before and after because this was amazing! Oh, Jack’s inspiration is Captain Levi from Attack on Titan. No biggie. Ha!
So, on Thursday morning I went to Goodwill and got a Leather Jacket (it’s funny, because the leather jacket and leather pants were both made by The GAP), a pair of brown leather pants, a pair of white pants, and a pair of no lace dress shoes.
I cut down the jacket to create the high waist. I took the pocket and placed it higher up. On canvas we had lying around, I drew and painted the Flight of Freedom emblems for the back and pocket. I sewed those emblems on and made epaulets for the shoulder. I made some gold buttons out of hot glue and gold paint and placed them on the epaulets. Whew! The Jacket was done and I knew I was onto something when he wanted to and wore it to school the next day in 70 degree weather.
From there, I altered the white pants to fit him. Then I made the boots. I MADE BOOTS! Thank you Scott Bayles! I took the boot upper pattern and sewed it onto the legs of the leather pants, put in a zipper (actually I thought it would be cool without the zipper, and I was so wrong – so I added the zipper after the boots had been made. This was difficult, but I made it work.), and added the decorative pieces to the back sides of the boots. I hot glued the fabric upper to the to tops of the shoes and – Voila – knee high boots. Ermagerd!
Then I made belt buckles out of hot glue and painted them black, then burnished them with silver. They looked rad and accommodated a one inch strip. I took all the leather from the rest of the jacket I’d cut off and made strips. I then made two upper loops, two lower loops with knee loops – added the buckles and sewed them together. We worked together to put velcro on his pants to keep them in place. I used more of the same strips and buckles to create the suspenders. I bought suspender clips at Walmart. I also bought heavy duty needles for my machine – 18s, and heavy duty upholstery thread – this made everything possible! With more time, we’ll build a proper harness out of leather, but it was late Thursday night and momma needed to get this done!
On Friday, I took a tea towel from our kitchen and sewed it together to look floofy. We safety pinned that to Jack’s white button down shirt that he already had – and voila, a shirt with the floofy scarf. I had some brown leathery looking material already at home and made the over the hips skirt thing. Jack added his own belt and we had a complete costume.
I did make a green cloak, but it was hot as mess and he actually looked like a hobbit – so we dropped it.
Bryan made the Verticle Maneuvering Equipment. It was so epic! He took a printer box and cut it down, covered it with duct tape and sprayed it with primer. He used to create a space for the swords to enter and rest when inside – so they wouldn’t wiggle around as he walked. He made handles from wood, shaped them to Jack’s grip, and created the swords. The swords are made of wood and they are covered with aluminum tape. Pretty smart, that Bryan. The handles got primed and then electrical tape was added for grips. Bryan attached brass fitting at the bottoms of the handles to attach aquarium hose to the tanks that rested on the sword holders. The tanks are pool noodles that Bryan heated and shaped, covered in Duct tape, then spray with our favorite primer. He connected it all and we used old belts of Jack’s to create the loops that held the gear onto the belt he was wearing.
For a two day build, this was pretty f****** amazing! We’re looking forward to having more time to make this better for him. The worst part about this is that he’ll soon outgrow the jack and boots – but he’s already got plans to sell them online to get money for his next cosplay endeavors. That’s mah boy!
All of this paid off, because Jack had the most amazing experience and took first place in the kids cosplay contest! There were people who told Bryan that would have done well in the crafting category, but we left everything up to Jack and he only entered one category – it’s all good. We told him from the start that we would make his first cosplay outfit, but that if he wanted to continue, that we would help him and he would lead the charge. Well, my friends, who have made it this far, it was the most amazing experience and he’s already planning his next costume – as No Face from Spirited Away. Somehow, I feel we are doing well as parents.
Jack’s best bud in the world, Sullivan, joined us for the day and his mom put together the best Ryu costume possible! He was instantly recognized, which makes us feel fantastic – these two had the best time at Gamga Con. Sullivan took home Third Place in the contest and they both made wise choices on how to spend their money – with art and bobblehead dolls. Way to go guys!
Here they are!
Putting this post together reminded me that we’ve had some seriously awesome costumes through the year. My background is in theatre costume building and I teach sewing to children – guess which two guys asked to learn how to sew on the way home!? I went through and found our halloween costumes. There’s one year we bought his costume – the year he wanted to be a police officer – other than that, we’ve made every one and we love it! I’m putting them all here more as a memory page for myself, but I hope you enjoy them too! We are looking forward to Jack getting involved with cosplay. I’ve actually got my eye on a pink wig for a Rose Quartz costume, now if I can just convince Bryan to be Mr. Universe, although Jack is adamant that he will not be Steven (even though that is the sweetest cosplay family idea ever!).