It’s finally finished!!!
Pictures from Boston Comic con.
Photos courtesy of Nick Crovo.
So this is my Mesmer from Guild Wars 2! I get it, this is totally bikini armor, but I think it’s actually really beautiful. So I’ve been working really hard, both on this costume and on my body, to rock this for the next convention! Here is poorly written and documented process on how I built it.
I started looking into how to make more stable armor. Leather was great for my Little Red, but I needed something stronger for the armor bits. Of course, the first thing that comes up is Worbla, a thermoplastic, however, it’s a bit too expensive so I found an alternative from Tandy Leather called TerraFlex. I didn’t really know how to use it at first, in fact my first attempt was a wreck, so good old YouTube to the rescue. There surprisingly isn’t a lot on TerraFlex because it is such a new product, but I found one video where you make your form from craft foam and then heat, drape, mold, form the TerraFlex around the foam. Voila! The armor bits have been plenty strong to hold up the skirt and ‘harness’ so I am very pleased.
It took me several attempts to get the paint job right. I started out with a flat pale yellow then added on plain old acrylic paint. The yellow I chose looked so much like Velveeta mac and cheese that I just started calling it ‘macaroni color’. I HATED it at first. Like seriously hated it to the point that I had to stop and leave it for a few days. I bought more paint of the wrong shades… ended up going back to painting it full macaroni and painting in the shading. Then the final step was lightly painting over the entire macaroni with that super cheap, like $1 paints, ‘Kings Gold’, giving it a nice sparkle, then clear coating with a shiny coat. Now they look great!
The caplet was a challenge. It took 3 days just to make the thing. As usual, I didn’t take any ‘making of’ pics. But it was patterned with newspaper, then translated into fabric. I hand drew out the pattern while looking at pictures for reference. Even though my character is indeed a human, her proportions are not, so I’ve really had to draw from scratch or wing-it on a lot of things. I ironed some interfacing onto the back of my yellow fabric, traced the filigree and carefully trimmed it. Turns out I bought the wrong kind of interfacing and the edges of the fabric did end up fraying. I learned how to applique and sewed the yellow onto the green. Done. Wicked hard…
You know how I said poorly documented? Yeah, I didn’t take a single picture of the main skirt build. The large skirt was patterned out with newspaper and took several attempts to get right. I still don’t think it’s really right, but it works, so whatever. I had tried to sew the complex pattern together like you would a quilt, right sides facing, sew, unfold, but that just wasn’t working at all. I ended up appliqueing the green onto the black. The skirt is just black on the inside. I painted on the swirly designs with a watered down silver fabric paint. Once complete, I put a wire through the entire edge of the skirt, hoping to help it hold its shape. This was a trial, but in the end, it looks OK and holds its shape OK.
The underskirts were tough to get the curve and angle right. I had actually started with these, then gave up when nothing I did came out right. So I started with just a curve of newspaper and made a template for the hangy parts, then cut several from the same template and taped them along the curve, eyeballing the distance between them to be equal. Both underskirts were done the same way, but the patterns are a little different. I cut two pieces each, sewed them facing sides together, turned inside out, then top stitched. How many pins does it take to sew an underskirt? All of the pins… I have already gone through and entire thing of black thread! After the black part was done, I sewed on the yellow bais tape, then attached the spots (grey metal bumps). Done.
With the skirt and underskirts complete, I attached them permanently to the armor bits. The leg armors are held in place with transparent bra straps and then I tied several rounds of clear thread between the outermost rings, pulled it tight and tied to keep the thigh armor looking suspended.
I have started on the shoulders and after painting them and trying attach the feathers, I’m really not pleased with the result, so those are being set aside. The top/vest/shirt has also been started, but I ran out of yellow fabric, so I made a plaster arm in the meantime and started working on the gloves.
Gloves: For these, I used my handy plaster arm and made a pattern from newspaper. On a side note, I didn’t even notice that I wrote ‘FU’ in big black letters… it just means ‘Front Upper’! omg…
(actually I think it says ‘FL’ for ‘Front Left’)
Anyway… I cut the cloth with the paper template, allowing for seams and there is a zipper sewn into the underside. Next the armor bits are more craft foam, puffy paint and TerraFlex. The armor bits are just glued to the fabric with Fabri-tac.
Shoulders: So after a few months of hating the way these looked, I fixed them in the last week before the con… I had tried to make them with actual feathers and it just looked horrible so I tore off the feathers and put in more TerraFlex parts and it is vastly improved!
Shirt. So this was another bad-on-me for not taking pictures. The shirt was templated with newspaper and fitted here and there. The feathers are all craft foam with puffy paint. The middle gem is more TerraFlex and puffy paint.
Boots: again, no pictures. More TerraFlex, craft foam and puffy paint. I made another plaster cast of my foot/leg for this which wasn’t as helpful as I was hoping.
Staff: This I’m particularly proud of simply because I decided there was no way I was going to be able to make Deathwish look even halfway decent, so I loaded up the game and looked for a staff that was still Necro-ish and found Final Rest. Then I made the thing in like a day. The body is Sculpy clay over aluminum foil and a wire armature. The wing bones are TerraFlex and the wings are fabric. I stiffened the wings with ModPodge then just painted everything. The staff itself is just a painted wooden dowel and the bottom spikes are more TerraFlex. For whatever reason, my clear coat went like extra shiny on his body… not thrilled with it, but what can I do…?
This is finally complete after SEVEN months of work — almost every day.