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

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