WARNING! AVENGERS ENDGAME SPOILERS AHEAD!!
Every year my fiancé and I do a Pepper Potts and Tony Stark costume. Usually, it's our more casual costumes for easier con days, but we both love these characters and have a special connection to them. Then, the Tony StArc ended with Endgame. So, after sobbing through the entire last half hour of the movie I resolved that we had to up our Ironman game. In honor of them.
We started with the arc reactor floral piece. The arc itself was built from a rather pricey online kit, which had instructions only in Mandarin and involved a soldering iron. We put on the first Iron Man movie in the background and it really felt like we built it in a cave. With a box of scraps. The rest of the project involved wiring it up to rechargeable battery packs, and then mounting it. I hollowed out some floral foam for the reactor to sit and then used fake flowers and wire to create the wreath. As with most of my con costumes, I love to hide little pockets and make it easier to handle for long stretches of time. It's shaped like a shield, and the back is covered in fabric with a zipper so that it functions as a shallow, wide purse to carry my phone, snacks, and to house all the wiring safely. It also has elastic on the back so that it can be worn like a shield while walking around.
Ian and I have always wanted to explore foam armor. He has done some work with props and painting, while I've done some work with fabric distressing. Using EVA foam tiles and a free Mark LXXXV (85) paper pattern, we very slowly constructed the arm pieces with a lot of trial and error. Sanding and painting brought its own horrors and a lot of non-returnable paints.
Something I love about recreating costumes is that what looks correct on screen won't always look right in person. You have to change things for different bodies, environments, etcetera. Because in the end, you are trying to invoke the feelings a character gives you. There were no patterns for the glove, so we used internet reference images before the movie came out on DVD and worked it in a best as possible. The hand plate I designed from scratch to match the makeshift Iron Gauntlet and to look right with the shape of the glove, the Infinity Stones, and the wiring we planned.
Distressing with the rotary tool was fun, creating deep groves and a lighting effect for each of the wires that represented the energy the stones produce, Weathering and painting finished the rest, and then using matching thread colors I stitched all the wiring into the foam. The battery packs had a small compartment in the shoulder piece.
Another new thing for me was working with liquid latex to make the burns on his face, Since Ian has very sensitive skin we ended up making a separate burn piece and then applying it the day of which saved time and his skin. My dearest friend Amanda, who is much better at makeup than I am, did the coloring and attachment.
We made it just in time to march in the Dragon Con 2019 Parade, another personal dream of mine. We also had a photoshoot in our costumes which will be posted soon. Overall, these costumes were a blast to make and I feel so wonderful progressing in my knowledge and trying new things.
"Mermaid Rock Dress" has been in my idea folder since 2012. I love playing with the way we think about costumes and wearability. And with all the mermaid and Ariel costumes you see, I have always wanted to see what could be done about having a real tail rather than a mermaid inspired dress. Thus, idea of using the famous rock in which our heroine spies on her future husband was born.
A modified hoop skirt sits under the extra wide fabric, and then the "cliff face" part of the dress was built from cardboard with elastic that goes over the hoop skirt. Because this costume was intended for Dragon Con 2019, the structure of the rock has a built in snack compartment and a place for my change of clothes, wallet, and ID.
The fabric of the rock is draped and stitched to give it the right look, and then shadows and highlights were airbrushed on. Finally, layers of water and mod-podge were spritzed on with a spray bottle until it was soaked, then dried and done again. This gave the fabric a very rigid and textured look, It always returns to this shape, even with the bustle of crowds and elevators.
The tail is a simple tube with cardboard and stuffing to give it the right shape, with a belt of the same fabric wrapping around the stomach to give the appearance of the tail being the main body rather than legs going into the skirt. The fins along the stomach detach and adjust. Finished with a deep purple bra with stitched piping to give the clam-shell look and a sculpted wig, and you've got yourself an Ariel costume!
One thing that is always very important to me while doing animated characters is to maintain the clean lines and simplistic styles that evoke classic animation. You have to out a representation onto a real, 3-dimensional physical body, but you want to avoid complex lines and textured that will pull out out of the feelings you had while watching it. For me, the goal isn't to bring the characters to life, but rather to be, to borrow a phrase, part of that world.