My Dad; The Prettiest Princess of Them All

DadAriel_1Ok, so this one is going to take a little explaining. Firstly, let me just say I have two dads…but not how you think! I have a very long complicated home-life story (which maybe someday I’ll tell in it’s entirety) but basically through a combination of foster care, marriage, and divorce I belong to one of those amazing Frankenstein families that’s more about people choosing to love each other than actual blood relations. I happen to think its a pretty special thing. 🙂

Anyways, so my dad, Craig (pictured here) happens to be a heterosexual male, well into his 60’s, is a decorated veteran of the Marine Corps, served in Vietnam, drives giant Harley Davidson motorcycles, cusses like…well, like a Marine, and also is the most mischievous person on the planet. Thanks to him I was actually kicked out of a Las Vegas hotel like a boss when I was still in middle school. How? He was teaching me to throw paper airplanes in the Luxor Hotel’s atrium!

Back in the day, when I still lived with my parents, I made this super awesome detailed Snow White costume. About a year after the last time I wore it to a party, my dad comes sauntering down the hallway wearing one of his Harley t-shirts, sweat pants…and my princess skirt. Somehow he had opened the back and wedged it around his waist. I’ve never laughed harder in my life than when he was batting his eyes and fanning his face “because someday his prince would come.”DadArial_3

Obviously he had to be Snow White for Halloween! I made fancy light blue princess sleeves for a regular dark blue t-shirt, he commandeered my skirt, we added my wig and my cape and it was a done deal! Of course he wouldn’t shave his handlebar mustache, so yeah, that happened… He ended up not just wearing the costume on Halloween night, but also to get kicked out of both Disneyland AND Disney World for sporting it in the parks.

That’s right. In the name of mischief he got himself kicked out of The Happiest Place on Earth. Twice. That take’s commitment.

At first we were ambitious and swore to do a different Disney Princess costume for him every year…but you know, things happen and we got sidetracked. We did make him a full Cinderella costume, which he wore very well, but once me and my wig collection moved out on my own, I’m not sure if he’s worn it since.

This year, we bought his very own bright red “Ariel” wig and it is game on! You’re welcome.

A love note from JoJo: This post was updated on June 12, 2014

Steampunk Rainbow Dash: How-To Advice

RainbowDash_Steampunk2The costume doctor is in! My friend, Cat, recently asked for advice on how to make a Steampunk Rainbow Dash costume.

These are my shopping suggestions, techniques and advice on how to execute the design.

Love you, Cat! Thanks again for the great inspiration!

COSTUME ACCESSORIES

  • A Costume Top Hat + cheap can of brown spray paint
    • TIP: For an aged leather effect lightly dust the hat with the brown paint rather than going for full coverage.  To do this, hold the can at least 12” away and apply in sweeping circular motions.
  • Aviator Goggles
  • Blue Feathered Wings 
    • TIP:  Apply with metal elements to wings with super glue or epoxy glue.
  • White Gloves

CLOTHING/APPAREL

These were some great finds on Amazon that were not too expensive and also items you could use again either in real life or other costumes!

Boots

Garter stockings:  go to Amazon.com and just search thigh highs and garter belts, there were SOOO many options!

Vest , Shorts & Belts: Head to a thrift store for a vest and some slacks you can cut into shorts. The tweedier the better.  Also look for leather belts.

TIP: Ladies, you’ll probably find leather belts more easily in the Men’s section.

RainbowDash_SteampunkTHINGS YOU’LL HAVE TO MAKE:

Bangs, Mane & Tail: You can actually make very awesome horse/pony tails out of acrylic yarn. It’s cheap and very  easy!  Sometime in the future I will do a full How-To article on tails, but for now you’ll just get the basics. Don’t worry, if you get totally lost just google it.

Supplies: Acrylic yarn; Scissors; Stiff brush; Flat Iron for Hair

  1. Using your scissors, cut 20 40” pieces of ONE color of yarn. Place the pieces of yarn together into a stack.
  2. Secure the end with a rubber band or thin ponytail holder and braid 2-3 inches the stack and secure with a small piece of yarn.
  3. Starting at the tip, brush out the yarn until it starts to look like hair. (There will be a TON of fluff leftover on your brush, just remove it as necessary.)
  4. Use your flat iron to smooth out the strands.
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 for each color in the Rainbow Dash tail.
  6. Once you have all the colors, secure them together at the base of the braided part with a small piece of yarn.
  7. Untie the braids lay the yarn as flat as possible and glue to the underside of the belt of your choice. Trim off excess yarn that sticks out above the width of the belt.

For the bangs and mane to go on the Steampunk top hat, use shorter pieces of yarn in smaller bunches. Glue directly to hat and then cover with Steampunk goggles.

Steampunk-Cutie-MarkCutie Mark:

Supplies: (1) Sheet White Craft Foam; color photo print out of my Steampunk Rainbow Dash Cutie Mark;  Various brass/copper chains from your local hardware store.

  1. Glue the photo to the white craft foam.  Let the glue dry.
  2. Cut out the Cutie Mark
  3. Attach the chains to your belt (a simple way would be to tie them on with a bit of ribbon)
  4. Affix the Cutie Mark to the chains with super glue or epoxy glue.

Optional: Simply cut out the photo and have it laminated.

A love note from JoJo: This post was updated on June 12, 2014

DIY Vintage Harlequin Clown: Accessories Tutorial

HarlequinClown_IG2

Sometimes you just need a quick and easy costume. One of my favorite ways to whip up a costume in a jiffy is to make really cool DIY accessories that can be added to regular clothes. This is a DIY tutorial for my 3 piece Vintage Harlequin Clown accessories.

HarlequinClown_MeThis is especially awesome if you’re on a budget and have a bunch of parties or events to go to: it’s super versatile.  I LOVED the high waist short and contrasting striped shirt we dressed up my fantastic model Kelsey in, but you could slut it up (and I mean that in the best way) with a skimpy leotard, sexy dress, or maybe pair the shorts with a corset or halter bra for a pin up vibe.

I actually wore it to an early Halloween party while my main costume was still in progress, and it was a big hit.  (The top, skirt, tights and shoes are all direct from my closet.)

Included in this tutorial are instructions to make a cone hat, ruffle collar and ruffle cuffs.

Beginner level, low cost, and can be done in an afternoon; what’s not to <3?

Enjoy!

Supplies

NOTE FOR SUPPLIES: You want to get fabric 45″ wide or wider. The wider the fabric the more “ruffley” your collar will be (and yeah I just made up a word, so deal). If you’ve never shopped for fabric before, read this, then proceed.

HarlequinClown_Hat2

Don’t forget to download my cone template!

step-one

  • TIP:  I used the large size for my human-sized hat you see in the pictures and I used small and medium for doll sized  “party skeletons” that I used to decorate my “Circus of the Damned” theme Halloween party. You could  also  totally  use the small version and glue it to a headband for a cute mini-hat look.

step-two

step-three

step-four

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step-six

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Repeat for opposite side of the hat. You’ll use these tabs to secure the hat to your hair with bobby pins.

HarlquinClown_Collar2

collar_one

Repeat step one with your second printed fabric- this time making a 6 1/2 ” fold.

NOTE: Save the excess fabric you trim off. You’ll use that to make the cuffs.

collar_two

collar-three

collar_four

TIP: You should end up with 15 inches marked off directly in the center of your ribbon and 12 1/2″ of ribbon left over at either end.

collar-five

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collar-seven

collar-eight

HarlequinClown_Cuff2

Start with your left over fabric from the ruffle collar.

cuff-one

TIP: Before moving on to the next step, trim edges so they’re nice and even like the photo in step one.

cuff_two

cuff-three

cuff-four

cuff-five

  • OH SNAP! Note on using snap closures: Each closure comes with two pieces (an “innie” and an “outie” if you will) that, uh, well, snap together. Cleverly named, these things are… but I digress. You will need to make sure that you keep track of which pieces are innies and which are outies as you apply them to your cuffs. Otherwise they won’t snap together, k?

cuff-six

cuff-seven

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 Repeat steps 4-8 for the other cuff and your done! Enjoy! XOXO

Love note from JoJo: This post was originally a 3-part post condensed and reformatted on 6/21/14.

‘Tis The Season…For Costumes!

If you’ve read a bit of my blog you probably already know that I’m pretty much obsessed with Halloween. I love throwing giant parties for the occasion and I usually make/get together 2 or 3 costumes for myself. I know that sounds like a big case of the crazies, but hear me out. I do one major handmade costume that takes me sometimes a month or more to make. Then there’s always that one person who throws a party in early October, so I gotta be ready with either something cool I can make in one afternoon or I pull out a repeat from years past. The office at my day job is pretty awesome so I get to dress up for work too…but sometimes my costume is just too complicated or uncomfortable to make it through my commute. Plus sometimes it’s too slutty. Not for the commute, for the office- but you get the idea.

Anyways, because of this mad obsession I’ve got tons of easy  & inexpensive DIY costume ideas to share. I’ll to post as many as possible leading up to Halloween. Coming soon: Vintage Harlequin Clown.

I’ll also be chronicling my preparations for this year’s party: Circus of the Damned. And keeping you posted on my progress with my big-deal costume: Vampire Ringmaster. I’m kinda stuck on this whole vintage circus vibe… just incase you hadn’t noticed.

Got a specific costume or costume accessory you’d like to make? Comment with your questions and requests and I’ll help you out. Maybe. If your request doesn’t suck. XOXO

Fabric 101 for Noobs: Beginner’s Guide to Buying Fabric for Cosplay

Maybe you finally decided to ditch the lame (and expensive, and ill-fitting…) store-bought Halloween costumes and make your own this year. Or maybe you’re just not immune to the Call of the Geek and you’ve finally caught the Cosplay bug. Whatever your reasons for making your own costume, if you’re a beginner you’re going to need some help getting started.

So, young Padawan, if you’ve never shopped for fabric before, allow me to drop a little knowledge on you.

The first thing you need to know about choosing fabric for crafting/costumes is what kinds of fabric to look for. Stuff that doesn’t fray is really great (unless you are willing to invest the sewing time or are going for a shredded look.) Also, unless you are just determined to sew everything you touch, you’ll probably be doing a lot of hot gluing so you don’t want it to melt. You can check out my favorite fabrics for crafting & costuming to get ideas.

Any questions you have about what a fabric is called, what it is made of, cleaning instructions, and size can be found in one place: the bolt label. (That’s also usually where the price sticker will be located.)

Unless you’re a textile expert, the bolt label is your best friend. Know it. Love it. Cherish it’s sweet, sweet wealth of information.

Here’s a shot of the bolt label of the polyester crepe fabric I used for my Easy No-Sew Cape:

bolt label

The second thing you need to know is how to get the right amount of fabric. Most fabric sold by the bolt comes in 2- 3 standard widths. The most popular widths you’ll see are  45”, 54” and 60”. Sometimes the fabric is folded. You will have to pay attention to this when shopping for fabric. If the fabric is folded and says 54” on the bolt label your total width will be 108”. (That’s 54 x 2, in case the math threw you.)

The fabric I chose for my cape project was 38” wide and folded so my total width to work with was 76.”

Wtf is a yard you ask? Oh yeah, that’s the super funnest part of fabric shopping: it’s not sold by the foot, oh no. That would be too easy. You gotta earn the right to play with fabric my friends! One yard is equal to 3 feet and 3 feet is equal to 36 inches.

(I’m not going to explain how I arrived at 36 inches. If I’ve lost you on the math at this point you probably need adult supervision.)

The third thing you need to know is that fabric is sold by the yard. So if the price sticker says $5.99 that means $5.99 per yard. That’s important when calculating cost. $12.99 doesn’t seem expensive… but buying 4 yards would be almost 52 bucks! Unless it’s some really great fabric, I say that’s way too much, but it really depends on your budget and the fabrics available in your area.

After you’ve determined how many yards you need (and can pay for), take the whole bolt to the cutting table. They will measure out what you request, cut it and give you a “receipt” with your total cost to take to the register and pay.

Be patient if you head to one of the big chains in the season leading up to Halloween (mid-August through October). Actually, August through November, because the little old grandmas really love to sew stuff for Xmas too. Anyways, be sure you have the fabric you want and have your measurements ready when you get to the cutting table.

Once they cut the fabric for you it’s super douchy to change your mind.

So now you know, and hopefully you won’t look like too much of a Sewing Tourist down at your local JoAnne’s.

Fabric Buying Cheat Sheet

  1. Love the bolt label

  2. Make sure you get the right kind of fabric

  3. Pay attention to width & fold

  4. Width= inches, Length= yards

  5. Price = per yard

  6. Try not to suck at math

  7. Don’t be douchy at the cutting table

Best Fabrics for Crafting & Costumes

fabricWhen I’m looking for costume & craft fabrics I generally hope they are inexpensive, look awesome, feel good and are easy to work with. That being said, sometimes looks are everything. Cutting faux fur only ends one way- with looking like you murdered a Muppet and had no time to hide the evidence. Vinyl is not so comfy to wear- but you can’t beat that slick look for certain characters and/or accessories. Listed below are my personal top choices for costuming and crafting. If I see any one of my Top 3 on sale, I’ll buy versatile colors (black, white, brown, red) just to stock up for the future, even if I have no idea what I’ll use them for. If you’re a newbie and never bought fabric before, read this to avoid pain and humiliation when heading out to your local fabric store.

TOP 3 BEST FABRICS FOR COSTUMES & CRAFTS:

#1 Polyester Crepe
V-E-R-S-A-T-I-L-E. Nice weight and texture.

#2 Power Mesh
Great alternative to Chiffon (which frays like a bitch)! And it’s stretchy to boot!

#3 Tulle/Netting
Generally cheap. Versatile for costuming AND crafting.

MORE FAVORITES:
Lace
Faux Suede
Velvet
Metallic Spandex
Spandex
Pleather
Vinyl
Faux Fur
Fleece
Flannel