Western Championships Of Cosplay: I Still Can’t Believe That Happened

It’s been a couple of months since I competed in the Western Championships of Cosplay and I haven’t had any time to debrief because I’ve been heads down on creating more cosplays and then going out of the country on a much needed vacation. Now that I’m back and finally over jet-lag my brain is starting to fully process the enormity of what happened in March.

Wow. Just wow.

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Competing at Emerald City Comic Con had been on my list of to-do items for years. I wanted to do it “someday” and thought that maybe I would get a chance when I was older or good enough…or just, someday in general. When I applied to compete I barely thought I would get in. I knew that this was one of the most prestigious cosplay competitions and they were very picky about who they let compete. I had no idea whether I would even be allowed to walk.

When I received my invitation I literally stood up on my bed crying. I honestly couldn’t believe it. I WAS GOING TO COMPETE AGAINST THE BEST. It also meant that I needed to get started immediately on building out my cosplay to match my vision for competing. I had already rebuilt it twice and had a month and a half after receiving my invitation to build on what I already had. To be honestly I didn’t really build on it. I pulled that cosplay apart and down to its core and built it anew. For the third time.

Looking back I COULD NOT be happier with how the cosplay turned out. To be absolutely honest I tear up when I think of how perfect that night was. The adrenaline, the crowd of 2,000+ people chanting “Rufio! Rufio! Rufio!” I honestly don’t know how I will ever top that experience for the rest of my life. Knowing that people connected with a character as deeply as I do is just such an incredible feeling.

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I do hope that I can compete again next year although I don’t know which character I’m going to bring to life for the stage. There is still so little representation of POC cosplayers in these arenas that my hope is that by competing I can inspire others who feel like they aren’t “worthy” to apply to try and pursue their dream. I did. And despite every little insecurity that whispered I wouldn’t make it, I did.

In case you missed the show: https://www.syfy.com/videos/the-western-championships-of-cosplay-eccc-2019

 

How I made Daenerys Targaryen’s coat for only $30

The crazy started the moment I decided to replicate a fur coat with a bath robe.

I’ve been known to thrift shop more than a few times a month and this month was no different. While I was on one of my weekly trips I stumbled across a bath robe and got struck with inspiration. A cosplay shoot had just been announced and the theme had already struck my heart: Winter is Coming. The shoot was going to be shot in the snow and I immediately knew the direction I would want to go for the shoot. The only problem? I had absolutely nothing from Game of Thrones to wear.

So I put on my big girl thinker hat and thought about how I could make something bad ass from Season 7 of Game of Thrones. It was a bit of a tie between Cersei and Daenerys to be perfectly honest. I only cosplay bad asses and those are the two characters I relate with the most in the show (yeah, yeah, don’t judge me for liking Cersei). Ultimately it was Daenerys’s winter coat that really struck me in the heart. The coat is something made for the gods and I knew I absolutely had to make it…or as close to it as I could get on a beer budget.

Champagne taste in cosplay is never a good thing when you’re struggling to buy cat food.

Anyway, when I saw the robe on the racks of Value Village I knew I had to turn it into something sumptuous. Something amazing. Something that was nothing like a robe. And thus, my project began:

Step 1: Interface the shit out of this thing

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Interface makes things stiff and can usually find in the collar and cuffs of shirts. Since my robe fabric was made to drape and I needed more structure (a LOT more structure) I grabbed some fusible fleece (fusible meaning iron-on) and started piecing it on the parts of the jacket I wanted to hold structure.

Step 2: Plan out the back of the coat

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One of the coolest parts of this jacket is the back, which is a completely different fabric and feel than the rest of the jacket. Knowing that the robe fabric wasn’t going to cut it, I went ahead and purchased an extra large coat that had the same animal feel. Then I killed it and pieced it together on the back. Brilliant.

Step 3: Kill a jacket to make the back look bad ass

Next up I cut up some $5 faux fur (white) that I had also found at Value Village (and which I had washed because it seriously smelled so bad when I got it). I was on a time crunch so this part of the back is actually hot glued down, rather than being sewn. I definitely plan on going back in and sewing it down in the future.

Step 4: Use a scarf to make the front look legit…and some faux fur

For the front of the jacket I took a knitted ribbed scarf and sewed it down so that there would be a piled texture to that part of the jacket. I also took the rest of the white fur and added in a side panel on the left side of the jacket which isn’t part of the original design…but I just like fur and wanted more on the jacket. Sue me.

Step 5: Paint lines until the wee hours of the morning

What then ensued happened at 11pm at night so there aren’t any pics, but the jacket was hand painted/markered to have the well known black and brown marks you can see in the original jacket. This whole process took 2-3 hours and was f-u-n (not really). I also sewed in grey panels to the sleeves which you can’t see in most of the pictures but were true to the original design so I wanted to make sure to add them. I also added a low cost wig because obviously I don’t have natural Targaryen hair, which you can find HERE. The chain was a necklace I found for three dollars at a thrift store as well, which I loved because the little gems are Targaryen red.

Step 6: Experience the glory of seeing your creation come to life

And THIS was the end result. For only having two weeks to make it (and under $50) I’m extremely happy with how it turned out. Sure I could sit and make a list of improvements I still want to make, but for now you can just call me the Mother of Dragons.

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Want to support more awesome cosplay projects? Check out my Patreon page!

All photo credit goes to Meghan Rush-Jones Photography 

Check out my NEW Patreon!

Oh my word I’m terrified and excited as I’m launching this but it’s up and it’s HAPPENING! My Patreon is currently launched and I can’t wait to share with you guys all of the amazing that will be happening over the 2019 year (and beyond). Cosplaying has never been just about me. It’s about bringing representation to characters and concepts that might otherwise not be seen in competitions and in the nerd world. It’s the same reason my handle has the word “our” in it. This is about US. Thank you for being a part of this community!

To support or just to see the awesome stuff you could be getting, click here: https://www.patreon.com/ourshieldmaiden/overview

What do I do? I am a cosplayer + writing addict from Seattle who curates buckets of geeky knowledge while building original cosplay designs based off of books, movies, and shows!

What happens with the money? The money I make from my Patreon goes ENTIRELY to funding my creative projects including cosplay materials, photo shoots, and boring business expenses (but hey, you gotta have em, right?). You will NOT be funding things like my rent or cat subscription boxes. You can support and unsubscribe at any time, and you can also pledge support without taking any of the perks, if you just want to help out. 🙂

What’s my cat’s name? Oh! And you’ll probably get to meet my cat Freya. She helps me out sometimes. Last week she ate super glue. She’s a very adventurous cat who may be showing off some of her own cosplay very soon, as well.

Patreon is such a fun way you can support my art as it grows to bigger and better cosplay. I’m also always open for cosplay suggestions, so if you have someone you think would be fun to see, don’t hesitate to reach out and let me know.

THANK YOU!

The Making Of A Cuddle Team Leader: PAX 2018

Procrastination is my Kryptonite and I don’t know that I’ll ever grow out of waiting until the last minute to do things. This year’s PAX cosplay was no exception with me getting the idea exactly five days before PAX. Yes, five. Since I’m a strong believer in not spending a whole lot on cosplaying (but still looking like a BAMF), I decided to test my paper mache skills and make a skin from one of the most popular games in the world. Maybe you’ve heard of it?

Yes, that’s right. I hopped on the Fortnite bandwagon. And if you haven’t heard of Fortnite…what are you even doing on this blog. Really? Despite Fortnite not being the game I play the most (even close) I’m absolutely in love with this skin because who doesn’t want to be a cute bear? And who doesn’t want to be wear all pink? And who doesn’t want to wear SPARKLES!? Okay, so I added the sparkles. Sue me.

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The actual construction process was five days total and included a trip to a craft store, thrift store, and me making a giant stink of a mess on my kitchen table. The great thing about paper mache, though, is that it’s pretty much free. I already had the water, flour and paints at home, and I paper mached over some foam forms for the eyes. I also bought some fuzzy fabric to cover the base…because PINK. Here are some pics from my initial process:

As you can see the whole thing looked very glamorous in the beginning. Honestly I had no idea if it was going to turn out to be a monster, but I pressed on and I was actually super happy with the end result.

While I was waiting for the paper mache to dry I also took some time to make a matching dress. To be honest, I originally thought I would just make the head and walk around with it, because like I said I came up with the whole idea five days before it was go-time. But like I said, you can’t sit and watch flour and water dry so I hopped to a thrift shop and found this glorious pink dress…in a size XL. I am not an XL. I had to do a little sewing to fix up the dress to actually fit and then of course I put the heart on the chest. In the end, I’m pretty happy with how the look came out: helmet, dress, boots (which I already owned haha) and socks. What do you think?

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