Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Winter is Coming: Catelyn Stark from Game of Thrones Cosplay Costume

Hello everyone, its almost the new year and winter is no longer coming, it is firmly here. I have had to keep my excitement for this post under wraps for a little while as I didn't want to give too much away about it.

You see Cosplay Sky, the nice people that sent me my Sailor Neptune costume very generously offered to send my a costume of my choice to style and share with you. How could I say no?! They have a huge selection to choose from, but the one I was drawn to (since it is something I have been thinking of cosplaying as for quite a while now) is their Catelyn Stark costume.

I am a HUGE Game of Thrones fan, I've read the books, watched the show, got the Telltale game etc. and Catelyn Stark (formerly Tully) is my favourite female character (don't worry this post is spoiler free!!).

Now I could probably let the pictures speak for themselves, but I think this costume is fabulous. I mean really, really excellent. By far the best ready made costume I have ever encountered and I'm so excited to tell you all about it!

Here are a few pictures so you get the idea:

This costume is based on Catelyn's costume in Season 1 of Game of Thrones, it is the dress and coat she wears in Winterfell and while she travels to The South to see her husband.

All of the costumes in Game of Thrones are GORGEOUS, but teal is my favourite colour so this costume jumps out at me for being on of the nicest. Catelyn's auburn hair is a fantastic contrast to the teal too. You also have to give got to give credit to actress Michelle Fairley she makes a wonderful Catelyn.

Okay, so now on to the nitty gritty...

The costume itself came in two parts, a linen dress with collar and cuff detailing and a coat in a teal mystery fabric. It is sort of like a faux suede, but it is much smoother than suede and very obviously synthetic from the look of the inside. What this does mean is that the coat is light and very movable which makes it fantastic for cosplay.

The construction of the costume is excellent, I could not find a loose thread any where and all of the internal seams were overlocked making it feel really secure. There was a really long side zip so it was easy to get off and on and the faux fur around the cuffs felt very soft and luxurious.

In terms of fit I sent Cosplay Sky my measurements and they made the costume for me so it was pretty much perfect. I haven't tried any of the ready made costume sizes, but Cosplay Sky and many other costume companies offer custom sizing and based on my experiences so far, I think it is probably a good idea.

Here is a picture of the underdress, front and back, I know it doesn't look like much, but having the full underdress as a separate really makes the costume look that bit more professional.

I did have one very minor issue with the fit, and that was that the hook that came with the costume to close the coat was in the wrong place for me. It ended up falling right on the apex of my bust which was not the most flattering position to have the clasp. Because of this I scrapped the fastening that came with the costume and instead used a House Stark brooch that I got from London Comic Con last year. I thought it suited the costume perfectly and that way I could fasten it just below the bust line which was just a bit more flattering.

I didn't send a measurement for the location of the fastening but I'm sure if you did, Cosplay Sky would make sure it was in the most flattering place for you.

Last but not least, time scale and price. From ordering this costume to arrival was 3 and a half weeks which is amazing for a custom made costume all the way from China. My wig took longer to arrive than that!

The cost of this costume is £108.99 which may seem like a lot of money, but while I was toying with the idea of making this costume myself I know that the linen (and the cheaper synthetic versions) were going to cost around £60 so add to that the cost of materials for the coat, the faux fur, thread and time, I don't actually think it is a bad price at all.

I suppose you can compare it to those £30-40 costumes you can get in fancy dress shops, but lets face it, the quality is no-where near this good and you can't get a Catelyn Stark costume form them anyway!

Here are the rest of the costume photos (thanks to @JanetteWPhotos for taking the pictures):

I have another post coming soon to show you the wig in a bit more detail, as it is pretty special.

But please comment and let me know what you think of the costume!

Have you ever bought a high quality cosplay costume? Who was it and where did it come from?

Monday, 22 December 2014

Help me choose my next pair of glasses! With a bit of a christmassy theme!

This week I have returned home to visit my parents and family over the Christmas season. Christmas always makes me feel super festive and I love the fact that it is the one time of the year I can wear red and green colour combinations.

(I'm also going to apologise upfront about my hair too. Its MASSIVE. Unfortunately this can't be helped sometimes...)

Now speaking of red and green, I've been wanting some red-ish glasses for some time and I've noticed that online retailer Specspost are doing some great coloured frames at the moment. Including some greens too! They're all very reasonably priced with most glasses between £12-30 including lenses. They are also having an advent calendar sale at the moment where you can get complete glasses for £12.99!!

The problem is that with so many options is that it is really difficult to choose just one pair. So really helpfully Specspost offer a home trial where you can be sent up to three pairs of glasses and then chose the best ones to keep (although they were really nice and sent me one extra to share with you!!).

So that's what I've done! I've picked mostly red hues but I did also go for one green pair so see how that would look. Please have a look and let me know which ones suit me best! 

First up I chose two frames from the colour collection and are a deep clear red. They are more of a typical geek style wayfarer frame, and not what I usually go for, but its always good to try new things. You can find them here.

I actually really liked this style. The frames were really comfortable and the frames were big enough that you didn't get red invading your peripheral vision.

Next, I tried the same style in a clear green. These glasses are insanely funky. I really like the colour, but I am worried that the colour is a little bit out there for my fashion choices. Or can I pull it off? I'm not sure. These specs are currently only £12.99 in the advent sale so its worth taking a look if you want a funky colour.

The third frame was also red and is called Bunting from the Ruby & Rose collection. I actually already have these glasses in blue rinse and although they are quite nice, I am not sure they are different enough from my usual glasses to take the plunge...

The last pair I was sent was Garter, also from the Ruby & Rose collection, and I went for this style because I have not tried a round frame before and I thought these looked really retro without being cats-eye. The exact colour was difficult to describe, a sort of redish burgundy, and I thought it was subtly festive.

So now I need to chose which pair of glasses I actually want to order. Its a really tough choice :(

I'd love to know which pair you think suits me best. Please comment and let me know - and you should totally check out Specspost, I've not encountered such affordable glasses anywhere and they have really good options for customising lenses at really good prices.

So tell me, which glasses should I get?!?

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Why I love the Lily of the Valley Kitty dress from Vivien of Holloway

If you follow my instagram you will have certainly seen me in a Vivien of Holloway dress. They are one of my favourite vintage reproduction brands (although I must confess there are plenty of brands I haven't tried yet!) which is why I decided to get their Kitty dress for my graduation last summer.

Good ol' Viv then decided to remake the Kitty dress in a new, and I believe limited addition, range of fabric and I knew I had to have another Kitty. I decided to go with the gorgeous green Lily of the Valley print and I think I managed to snag the last one in my size as they are now out of stock in most of the sizes. Mind you there are plenty of other bloomin' gorgeous print dresses in the same style.
Trust me if I had all the monies I would have one in every colour!!

I ADORE this dress. Here are all the reasons why...

Pockets: It has huge roomy pockets for your gloves, trinkets, money and (in the winter) handkerchiefs. Meaning there is no need for a handbag. I love the freedom of a dress with pockets and when the print blends perfectly with the dress you simple can't go wrong.

Skirt: It has a super full gathered skirt with a length of 30 inches so it is perfect for dancing as the skirt won't swish up and for dressing with that mid-century modesty.

The fit: As with all Vivien of Holloway dresses, the fit is based on vintage patterns so the bust/waist/hip ratios are a better for someone with a 'vintage figure' (someone with more than 10 inches difference between their waist and hips). The 16 is perfect for my 30 inch waist and frankly enormous hips and I found that the bust was ample enough for my bust without gaping at the buttons.

Being a bigger girl (size 12/14/16 ish depending on the brand) I find Vivien of Holloway a magnificent way of getting vintage style clothing as I find to difficult to find genuine 40s/50s vintage in my size (just means I have to try extra hard).

The Print: Come on. It's beautiful. 'nuff said.

So yes I absolutely love this dress...

I also think my hair ended up looking pretty good this day. I bought some nylon scarves from Vintageous on youtube and they are a great vintage style hair addition. I'm so pleased that my hair is finally long enough at the front to roll. I much prefer my hair this way than with the fringe. Would you agree?

Dress: Vivien of Holloway
Necklace: Vintage
Shoes: Doc Martens

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Working with Worbla for a Marvel Black Cat mask

So one thing that I really love about cosplay, and I'm sure a LOT of cosplayers will agree with me, is the chance to learn new skills. I've learnt how to sew, how to style my hair, paint my face and more recently I've started to explore props. Up until now I've been working with craft foam a lot but I decided to take the plunge and invest in some Worbla's finest art.

If you're new to cosplay Worbla is a thermoplastic that can be heated and shaped using a hairdryer. It comes in big sheets that you can cut with scissors and it can be sanded and painted easily. Because of this it is becoming the craft material of choice for people making armour, masks, weapons and other replica cosplay items.

I decided to make something simple and useful for my first Worbla construction. A mask. I've dressed as the Black Cat before, but she is one of my favourite characters so I thought the chance to improve it a bit would be fun, that way I could make a fairly generic mask as a first project.

So I cut two pieces of the Worbla and stuck them together. I then heated them with the hairdryer to stick them togeher. Putting two pieces together means that it was a bit more sturdy and any of the overlapping edges can be sanded away pretty easily.

I then heated the mask again and placed it over my face (once it had cooled enough). Because the plastic is still soft you can press it against your skin and really shape it so that is snug.

I then spray painted the mask with an under coat of grey spray paint to fill gaps and smooth it out.

Then I coated it in matt black spray paint. I 'glued' the mask to my face using spirit gum, it really helped that the shape fit snugly to my face so I actually didn't need a lot of spirit gum.

And here is the finished thing, what do you think?

Here is a picture without the wig too so you can really see the shape of the mask.

Aaaaaaaand finally the shot after the mask removal... It left a horrible amount of gunk on my face that I then had to peel off, sort of felt like I was painlessly peeling pieces of skin off. A very odd sensation indeed.

Do you think you would try making some props out of thermo plastic? I can highly recommend it!

Friday, 5 December 2014

Lates at Life and a costume inspired by Magenta from Rocky Horror

Howdy everyone!

Waaaaay back around Halloween (where did November go?!) I went to a Late event at the Centre for Life in Newcastle. I used to work there and worked a couple of the late events back in the day so I know how much fun they can be and I really wanted to see the exhibition they have going on right now so it was a double bonus of awesome.

Because it was Halloween it was also a dress up event and as I was travelling light visiting home I decided to work on a variation of my Wednesday Addams dress that I featured in this post.

I changed it up by adding a retro style apron to make it into a sort of retro-chic version of Magenta from Rocky Horror (although Rocky Horror is pretty retro...). I used face paint for paleness and I curled my hair, although it was a bit damp so the fullness fell out pretty quickly :(

 We had a good opportunity to look around some of the exhibits (which had changed since I worked there) and we did get to look at the Body Worlds exhibit which was absolutely amazing! Although we were not allowed to take any pictures so sadly I can't share any images. Mind you the Bodyworlds exhibition has been extended so if you're in the North East it is well worth a look.

Being a Biologist I love getting my hand on a microscope.

And my favourite exhibit that I can share was this giant book showing the DNA sequence of the X chromosome. The idea is that each of those giant books is one piece of human DNA and you have all the books in every cell in you body. It really helps you to see how much information is carried in our bodies!

I also got my hands on a chalk board before the place got busy... heh heh... and since I've been obsessing over Sailor Moon Crystal I had to draw Sailor Moon. Not that she's very spooky.

 We also saw a planetarium show, which I can't show you either, but after that we finished there we got to prance around in a smoke machine while listening to some choice tunes.

Oh and here are a few extra shots of the outfit:

Dress: Vintage
Apron: Home made
Boots: Clarks (borrowed from my mother)

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