Star Lord Part 3 – Star Lord Costume Tutorial: Cheap and Easy DIY Quad Blasters

Star Lord Costume Tutorial - Quad BlastersOrdinary cardboard can easily become a perfect quad blaster. Part 3 of this Star Lord costume tutorial shows you how to make a cheap and easy one. Continue reading

Star Lord Part 2 – DIY Star Lord Costume: Holster Belt and Walkman

DIY Star Lord CostumeNeed an easy belt and Walkman for your DIY Star Lord costume? This tutorial shows you how to make them with a little cardboard and some distressed fabric. Continue reading

The First Cosplay Costume

The First Cosplay Costume

Modern-day cosplayers at FLCC’s ComiCon

Though it’s commonplace these days to see enthusiastic fans dressed up as their favorite characters at conventions, someone had to take that first step and create that first cosplay costume. That someone was Myrtle Jones. Continue reading

Star Lord Part 1 – How to Make a Star Lord Costume Jacket

How to Make a Star Lord Costume JacketThis is the 2nd part of how to make a Star Lord costume (though it’s the first actual part of Star Lord himself), to follow last week’s infinity orb tutorial. Continue reading

Infinity Orb – DIY Infinity Orb, Cheap and Easy Guardians of the Galaxy

DIY Infinity Orb cheap and easyThis cheap DIY infinity orb is very easy to make, and it actually opens so you can put your infinity stone inside. Continue reading

Superman Costume Part 1: DIY Superman Costume Cheap and Easy Shirt and S Emblem

DIY Superman CostumeThis is a tutorial for a fairly easy DIY Superman costume. This tutorial is for the first part of the costume, the shirt (I broke the usual bodysuit into two pieces) and the S emblem.  Continue reading

Ben 10 Omnitrix (The Original), Cheap and Easy DIY

Ben 10 Omnitrix (The Original), Cheap and Easy DIY This is a tutorial for a Ben 10 Omnitrix, which was a requested tutorial. This is for the original omnitrix, as far as I know. Continue reading

Chewbacca Bowcaster DIY (Star Wars Wookie Crossbow)

DIY Chewbacca Bowcaster (Star Wars Wookie Crossbow) This is a tutorial for the Chewbacca bowcaster from Star Wars. Had a request for this one, so put it together from some fairly common items that most people already have lying around their house. Continue reading

Harley Quinn Costume Suicide Squad DIY Hair, Tattoos, and Good Night Bat

Suicide Squad Harley Quinn Costume DIY Hair, Tattoos, and Good Night Bat So the final part of the requested Suicide Squad Harley Quinn costume is the pigtails, tattoos and good night bat. Continue reading

Harley Quinn costume Part 1 – How to Make a Harley Quinn Costume (Suicide Squad version)

How to Make a Harley Quinn costume Part 1 - (Suicide Squad version) I had a couple requests for a Harley Quinn costume from the Suicide Squad movie. Continue reading

Iron Man Costume – How Ours Was Made (explanation, not actual tutorial)

How Our Iron Man Costume Was Made (explanation, not actual tutorial) I’ve had quite a few people have asked about the family Iron Man costume, since it’s seen in the background of a lot of my tutorials, so this is a little video basically explaining how our Iron Man costume was made. Continue reading

Iron Man Repulsor – DIY Cheap and Easy

DIY Cheap and Easy Iron Man Repulsor Had a request for an Iron Man repulsor tutorial. This a fairly cheap and easy Iron Man repulsor which you can put together with some pretty basic supplies. Continue reading

Falcon Wings Part 2: The Pack DIY

DIY Falcon Wings Part 2: The Pack This is the second half of the Falcon Wings tutorial, this is for the pack part that the wings actually fold up into. Continue reading

Gimli Costume Part 4 – How to Make Gimli’s Helmet (Pepakura tutorial)

How to Make Gimli's Helmet (Pepakura tutorial) This is a pepakura tutorial guest filmed and narrated (mostly) by my brother (he’s not used to doing this for film, so it got a little long). Continue reading

Winter Soldier Arm – How to Make a Winter Soldier Arm

How to Make a Winter Soldier ArmI had a couple requests for how to make a winter soldier arm, so here it is. Continue reading

Iron Man Arc Reactor that Really Glows – DIY Cheap and Easy

Iron Man Arc Reactor - DIY Cheap and Easy This Iron Man arc reactor looks amazingly realistic, but is actually very easy to make and can be put together with just a few simple materials for around $5. Continue reading

Odin’s Spear, Gungnir Cosplay Tutorial

Odin's Spear, Gungnir I had a request for a Gungnir, Odin’s Spear tutorial. This is the version from the Thor: The Dark World movie, so it can be used for either an Odin cosplay, or for Loki after having taking the throne. Continue reading

Loki Staff – How to Make a Loki Costume Staff that Actually Glows

Loki staffHere is the first part of the Loki Costume tutorial. It’s a fairly simple and inexpensive way to make a Loki staff that actually lights up. Continue reading

Harry Potter Costume Tutorial Part 2: Easy No-Sew Robe, Crest, & Glasses

Here is part 2 of the Harry Potter costume tutorial. This covers making the robe, the house crest, and a pair of glasses. Continue reading

Harry Potter Costume Part 1: Easy No-Sew Sweater, Shirt, & Tie

Easy No-Sew Harry Potter Costume Part 1: Sweater, Shirt, & TieThis is a quick and easy Harry Potter costume that requires almost no sewing, save for a small bit to attach the robe closure. It’s easy enough that kids can make it themselves.  Continue reading

Thor Costume Tutorial Part 3 – Hammer, Cape, Boots, & Belt

thor costumeHere is the third and final part of the Thor costume tutorial. I was starting to run out of time before the comic con, so I wasn’t able to film the actual production of these parts, but here’s the explain on how to complete the remaining Thor costume pieces. Continue reading

Thor Costume Tutorial Part 2: The Vest

thor costumeThis is part two of the Thor costume tutorial. This how-to is for making Thor’s vest. I’ve simplified it a bit just to make it a little easier to do.

Continue reading

Making a Fairy Part 2: The Dress

For the fairy dress, I had a fair bit of white satin leftover from a wedding gown I’d done last year, so I made the fairy dress out of that. I double-layered it on the body part of the dress so it wouldn’t be see through, and fortunately satin is still light enough to wear to a summer Ren Fest.

For the gold trim on the pointed sleeves and the collar I found a polyester fabric that worked great. The dress has a zippered back. The costume was finished off with a pair of pointed ears, like the elf’s. Glittery makeup, a flute, and a greenery wreath for the head also make excellent fairy embellishments.

Making a Fairy Part 1: The Wings

It has to be said that wings are the most important part of a fairy costume. The wings are what really prompt the fairy response. Working off the sketch I was given, I fashioned the wings in four sections out of electric cow fence wire (yeah, I know, me using anything other than bailing wire, what are the odds? But hey, fence wire is pretty close). Since it was to be a water fairy, I set out to find an apporpriate blue material to cover the wing frame with. I found this sheer blue material with a wavy pattern on it, which seemed to hit the mark because when I brought it home, my sister commented that the fabric looked like water. Perfect!

I cut the fabric to fit the wingshapes and sewed them to the frames by hand all the way around the edges. (That’s the way I’ve always done it, but I’ve got to find an easier way, because this way just takes much too long). Then I wrapped a few paint stirring sticks with the elftover blue material and sewed them to all 4 sections to attached them to one another and provide stability.

Since the fairy dress will be white, the ties are white satin ribbon to go aroud the shoulders and tie in the back. There’s also an optional set of ribbons at the waist.

Making an Elvin Archer Part 6: The Shirt

For shirt I used light green broadcloth, double-layered on the torso part, and single-layered on the sleeves. It’s one of the Renaissance style, large shirts. I kept it fairly short so there wouldn’t be a lot to stuff into the corset. The collar was a two inch wide piece of fabric that I did a running stitch on, and pulled it up tight, then I sewed it between the two layers of the shirt. To make the sleeves poofy, I cut them in a shape sort of like a half moon, and sewed the curved edge to the body of the shirt. The flat edges I made sure to cut on the bias so I wouldn’t have to hem them. Then to enhance the “poof” I sewed some half-inch brown ribbon onto the sleeve-bottoms, sewing only at the very edges which left a tunnel in between. Through the tunnel, I ran a thinner piece of brown ribbon so the sleeves can be pulled up tight for added “poofyness” and a good fit on the arms. The olive green piece of cloth at the bottom is a sash/belt that goes around the waist.

The costume was finished off with a pair of latex elf ears.

Making an Elvin Archer Part 5: The Shorts

To make the shorts, I took a pair of brown pants, kinda like sweatpants, but not quite so thick, and cut them off below the knee. Then I rolled the bottoms up a couple inches and sewed the roll in place. The pants had pockets in them, so instead of sewing them out, I left them in, figuring they might be convienent. And since the skirt will go over them, they won’t show anyway. I cut the slits in the sides about an inch wide and sewed the seams wit keep them from unravelling. I didn’t use metal lacing holes for these, I just did the whipstitch holes as I was afraid the metal might be uncomfortable on bare skin. The ribbon lacing is the same 1/4 inch thick satin brown I used for the the cloak closure. The waist is drawstring again, like the skirt, to ensure good fit.

Making an Elvin Archer Part 4: The Skirt

For the skirt, I had enough faux suede left over from the cloak to make the skirt from that. This is probably the simplest part of the costume. I just cut the front section, and the back section (the longer part), sitched the two together at the sides, then cut the slits in both front and back. Because the faux suede frays easily, I zig-zag stiched all around the entire edge of each slit with my sewing machine to make sure it doesn’t come unravelled. The waistband I made drawstring to be sure for a perfect fit.

Making an Elvin Archer Part 3: The Corset

Since this elvin archer is female, we needed a corset. I made this out of the same faux leather stuff as the bracers, but instead of putting fabric stiffener inside, I used two layers of denim. I had to give it a light “boning” without it being uncomfortable (battle elves needing to be able to move around quckly after all), so instead of metal or plastic boning, I lined the front of the corset with some vertical nylon strings. Actually, to be specific, the nylon strings are bailing twine (not just for use on haybails), to allow for plenty of flexibility, while still providing support. It’s a front-lacing corset, so I used metal lacing holes on this, which I’ve done never before. Usually I just whipstitch around a cut to make a lacing hole, same as a button, but in this case, since it’d be seen from the front, I wanted it to look a bit fancier. I think I’ll be using them for any corset I make from now on. They’re not too difficult to work with and they look great!

Making an Elvin Archer Part 2: The Bracers

Here are the archer bracers. They look like leather, but they’re not (I love animals, so I rarely use real leather). It’s actually a polyester fabric, that kinda squeaks like leather, sewn around a stiffener to give them the leather feel. These have laceholes and a buckle on each bracer. I found the metal part of the buckles in the pursemaking section of a craft shop. The straps I made from more of the fake leather.

Making an Elvin Archer Part 1: The Cloak

Got the elvin cloak done. It’s a dark green suede-look cloth (100% polyester). I wanted to use alova (my favorite material of choice), but I couldn’t find any in a dark green. This stuff looks just as good, but the edges on it fray, whereas alova doesn’t, so I had to hem them all. I used brown satin ribbon for the tie-closure at the neck.

Making An Elvin Archer

Got two Renaissance costume requests to work this week, a woodlandelf elf archer and a water fairy. They sent me sketches of what they wanted them to look like, and now I get to bring them to life. It’s gonna be fun as fairies and elves are some of my favorite costumes to make anyway. And even more fortunately, I’ve already got most of the material I’ll be needing to make them. Some of it’s left over from other costumes I’ve done, and some it came from Gramma cleaning out her old material and giving me what she didn’t want to use.

First up, the elvin archer cloak.

My Costume Heroes

My Costume HeroesMy family usually has the television on the night of the Oscars, and we watch in between doing whatever work we’re doing that particular evening. I’m kind of the geek of the group though. While most people are waiting for the best actor/actress/picture/director awards, I’m eagerly awaiting the announcement of the costume design award which usually goes to someone only I’ve heard of. Reason being of course, that I make costumes, so I actually care about the people nominated, whereas the rest of my family is just waiting for it to move on.

While I was personally rooting for Sandy Powell, one of my costume design heroes (she was up for the Tempest), the award actually went to Colleen Atwood for Alice in Wonderland. While I was disappointed that Powell didn’t take it, Atwood is still in my top 5 favorite costume designers.

As far as my favorite costume design heroes, my #1 spot is a tie between Sandy Powell who gets a large percentage of the good ones (Rob Roy, Young Victoria, Gangs of New York) and Ngila Dickson who did my all time favorite movie Lord of the Rings, not to mention The Last Samurai, the Illusionist, and was one of the designers for Xena: Warrior Princess.

Then the #2 spot goes Jenny Beavan (Everafter, need I say more?).

And at #3 comes tonight’s winner Colleen Atwood (She’s designed so many costumes I aspire to recreate).

So there we are. Four costume designers who greatly inspire me and keep me working hard on my own costumes. As far as the Academy Awards themselves, I just have one question, how come nobody ever shows up in a gown they got at the Goodwill?

Peter Pan Costume

The butternut leaves are starting to fall. It can only mean one thing, Halloween will soon be on its way. Yippie!!! So, I’ve started making costumes. This was a Peter Pan costume done in alova, my favorite material of choice. Here are the instructions if anyone wants to try it themselves. The top and hat are pretty easy to make can be worn with any pair of green pants.

Alova is an inexpensive material that has the look of suede or leather, particularly when brown shades are used. Though called alova skin, it is in fact synthetic and is not made of animal skin. Aside from trying to achieve a fake suede look, however, this fabric lends a rich texture to almost any costume. The best part is, this material does not fray so there is no need to finish stitch the edges. I used alova to make this Peter Pan costume.

Trace a large T-shirt (just the body, not the sleeves) onto a piece of dark green fabric and cut two pieces of the green fabric. Widen the dip of the neckline on both pieces. With the right sides together, sew the sides and top of the two body pieces together leaving holes for the sleeves and the neck.

Cut four rectangular pieces a little larger than the sleeves of the T-shirt used for measuring. These sleeves should reach the elbow of the person who will be wearing the costume. Put two of the rectangles right side together and cut one end at a diagonal. Sew the sides of the pieces together leaving both ends open then sew the sleeve pieces to the body piece. The shorter end of the sleeve goes on the bottom side of the sleeve. Do the same with the remaining two sleeve pieces. Now turn the entire shirt right side out.

On the front side of the newly made shirt, cut two inches down the center neckline. Fold the collar open, bending it to each side and secure each side of the bent collar with a stitch. Then continue cutting straight down the center for another 3-4 inches. Cut lace holes on each side of this center slice.

Cut a 1/2 inch piece of fabric and tie a knot in the end of each side. Lace this through the holes on the front of the shirt starting from the bottom and going up. Leave the ends hanging loose. Cut points around the sleeve ends and the bottom of the shirt. Use a piece of green cord as a belt.

To make the hat, cut two pieces of cloth in the shape of a half heart. Sew the two pieces together leaving the straight edge open for the wearer’s head. Turn the hat right side out and roll the edges up, securing with a few stitches. To finish, sew a feather onto one side. A plastic knife or a bow and arrow also make a nice addition to the costume. Wear this top and hat with a pair of green leggings or some other form of tight pants.

On the front side of the newly made shirt, cut two inches down the center neckline. Fold the collar open, bending it to each side and secure each side of the bent collar with a stitch. Then continue cutting straight down the center for another 3-4 inches. Cut lace holes on each side of this center slice.

Cut a 1/2 inch piece of fabric and tie a knot in the end of each side. Lace this through the holes on the front of the shirt starting from the bottom and going up. Leave the ends hanging loose. Cut points around the sleeve ends and the bottom of the shirt. Use a piece of green cord as a belt.

To make the hat, cut two pieces of cloth in the shape of a half heart. Sew the two pieces together leaving the straight edge open for the wearer’s head. Turn the hat right side out and roll the edges up, securing with a few stitches. To finish, sew a feather onto one side. A plastic knife or a bow and arrow also make a nice addition to the costume. Wear this top and hat with a pair of green leggings or some other form of tight pants.

Thrift Store Sewing Material

I’m big on recycling, no matter what it is, so one of the things I try to do when I’m sewing is use as much salvaged or recycled material as possible. When I say recycled material, I’m not referring to material that has gone through a recycling process, rather I’m referring to the vast quantities of unwanted clothing that people get rid of every day. Rather than buying new material, getting it from a thrift store is a way to recycle. Not only that, it can also be a great money saver.

At first glance, sewing material in a thrift may not be obvious, but upon closer inspection, it is revealed that everything in the thrift store is material, albeit in a preformed garment. This allows for double convenience. One can either purchase a large item of clothing with the intention of cutting it up to use as material, or the actual garment itself can be used as a starter for something else.

In my area there is both a Salvation Army and a Volunteers of America, so the selection of “material” is wonderfully large. I recently found a huge long sleeved T-shirt with a rather ridiculous picture on the front side (probably the reason it was in the thrift store in the first place!) for a new costume pattern I was trying out. While the hideous front was useless, the entire backside and the large sleeves were prime for the taking. The thick knit material would have cost a lot more in a regular fabric shop, but I was able to purchase it for only 50 cents, which was great as I didn’t have to worry about wasting money if my experiment didn’t work out.

Even better was the white linen tablecloth I found to make a confessor’s dress for the Renaissance festival. I had been looking in the thrift store for a white dress to use as a base, but as long-sleeved dresses are rather scarce to come by in the summer, I had no such luck. It was not long, however, before I found myself in a section with sheets, blankets, and a white linen tablecloth. I ended up getting for $4 at a thrift store what would have been around $20 of linen at a regular fabric store, and as an added bonus, the edges were already finished, so I didn’t have to worry about them fraying. I already had a black tank top and leggings to wear under it, and I was able to get the sleeve trim and lacing for the costume for a $1 at JoAnn Fabrics, bringing the total cost of the dress to $5.

As for finding clothes that can be used as starters, a simple blue dress was the basis for my cousin’s costume. The gown itself was already sewn, all I had to do was add a few ribbonsto the sleeves and the front to make it look “Renaissancy.”

Naturally there are many times when a visit to a traditional fabric shop is necessary, when a certain color, type, or size of material cannot be found in a thrift store. However, it is always worth the time to look in the thrift store first. As an added benefit, purchasing material from a thrift store like the Salvation Army or Volunteers of America supports the organizations that help people. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.
Copyright © Amber Reifsteck ~ The Woodland Elf

Hoopskirt Making

A hoopskirt is essential for civil war reenactment costumes and some Renaissance costumes. It can also be used to give fullness to a wedding dress. While premade hoopskirts are available, it is much more cost efficient to make your own.

You will need:
2 flat strips of metal, no more than 2 inches wide. Should long enough to make hoops 120″ and 100″
Long pieces of scrap fabric
Strong yarn or string
Needle and thread

This is a 2-tiered set of hoops, and is fairly easy to make. To begin, you will need some long, flat strips of metal. For my skirt I found some discarded strips that had previously been used to bind stacks of lumber. I have also seen such strips in hardware stores such as Lowe’s.

Bend one strip into a circle, measuring it to be 120 inches around. Duct tape the two ends of the strip together. Wind duct tape around the entire strip to prevent it from rusting and staining the gown. (If your strips are made of no-rust metal, you can skip this step). Make a second hoop 100 inches around. Duct tape the ends together, and wind the entire strip with duct tape.

Cut 5 strips of fabric about 4 feet long and 2 inches wide. Tightly sew the the ends of these five strips to the 120″ hoop, evenly spacing them around the hoop.

Cut another strip about three feet long, and tie around your waist, making a sort of belt. Tie the free ends of the five strips to this belt, evenly spacing them. Adjust the height of the five strips until the hoop is several inches above the ground. Untie the belt from your waist, making sure the five strips stay tied to it.

Cut off any excess from the five strips. If you have a mannequin, put the hoops on it. If not, have a friend volunteer to wear the hoops for a moment. Take the 100″ hoop and hold it about a foot and a half above the bottom hoop. Run a piece of yarn through each of the fabric strips and tie them tightly to the 100″ hoop.

If your gown has a thick skirt, the hoop forms won’t show through the dress. If they do, add a petticoat beneath the hoops. This is what the finished product looks like (I sewed my skirt to my hoops for convenience, so I don’t have a picture of just the hoops).
Copyright © Amber Reifsteck ~ The Woodland Elf