By Mink the Satyr, 19 December 2018
So there I was. Katsucon, 2018. My friends and I were in the courtyard just outside of the Gaylord hotel. I watched another Disney princess pass by. And then it hit me. Like a ton of bricks.
…But what about a pun?
I told everyone I could that day, to many groans and sighs. Some folks were excited for me. Others professed deep, burning hatred. That’s how I knew I was on the right track.
The idea, you ask?
Well, it’s a crossover between Pokemon and Beauty and the Beast. No, it’s not a Chandelure? Give up?
[pause for groans]
I HAD to make this!
I immediately added it to a notepad file on my cell phone containing my 2018 “cosplans”. This file contains each cosplay I wanted to make and when I wanted to make it. I was pretty booked up already with ideas. I added it to the “August” pile and called it a day.
Flash forward. I’m at a gas station driving from Gen Con in Indiana to Pennsic in Pennsylvania. I’ve already been away from home for about a week, but I’m preparing for yet another week away. No big deal. While I’m taking a driving break, I scroll through my online fabric stores of choice and order what I need. The best part? Everything will arrive by the time Pennsic is over and I’m back at home. The only problem? It’ll be mid August by then. Dragon*Con is early September. I have a lot of work to do.
This is my crazy cosplay life. I always put things together in a huff and a rush. “I do my best work in con crunch”, I always say. My friends called me crazy. They aren’t wrong.
I usually start my costumes by making the accessories first. They are easily the most photogenic for progress pics and they offer the added benefit of inspiring me to continue to work. For this project, I started with my Bellsprout “wilted rose”.
He’s made from galvanized steel wire that I duct taped together to make a wire frame. I balled up tinfoil to form the head, then covered it in model magic air drying clay to provide the details. Model magic never REALLY “dries” to a firm, hard texture, so I covered THAT in Black Worbla. It was slow work and the sanding was a real pain. But I was happy with the outcome!
I moved on to the pokeball roses next. Those were easy. I had done them before, but they are MESSY. I started with a white rose flower head. I used copic marker (the alcohol-based color is key) to color ½ of the petals red. Then I used black copic marker to draw the black “band” around the pokeball. I stained my hands something fierce. Always wear gloves, kids. A little pin clasp on the back finished them off!
Next I tackled the petticoat. You know, the underskirt you can’t see? I used 50 yards of organza to make a fluffy, FLUFFY skirt! I was just so pumped about how delightful it all was. I worked on that damn skirt over the course of 3 days, alternating between doing THAT grunt work and working on the pokeball roses. They were both just “plug and chug” work: repetitive work that isn’t hard, but just boring.
If you squint, you can see peeks of the petticoat when I move.
I made quick work of the underskirt. That part was just a circle skirt in pink. The bodice came next and I took my time with that. I didn’t MEAN to put in boning channels. But it just sort of happened. Ultimately, I gave myself 90 minutes to sew a bodice and took 3 hours making a boned corset. Oops.
Yes, the top is separate from everything else.
So before I tackled the top skirt, I spent some time making my Victreebel “chipped cup” headpiece. I was really proud of that. The base is a plastic champagne flute. I cut the mouth at a better angle and added Worbla to the original shape. There wasn’t a whole lot of modifying that needed to be done and I was really pleased by how nicely it all came along.
Of course, once I did that, I had to tackle the wig styling. I THOUGHT I was going to tease and glue/spray the wig into submission. But then I remembered the power of the “bump it”. I literally grabbed whatever brown fabric I had on hand and made 2 “bang” bump-its and 1 “bun” bump it. I sewed them into the wig itself and used hot glue to carefully cover the bump-its so they wouldn’t be seen. The end result? Hair I can throw in a wig bag and transport, but will not flatten or need respraying!
I STILL didn’t want to make my top skirt, so I procrastinated a little farther by adding some details to my shoes. I had bought white heels and some leather paint. The leather paint is clutch, as it has some flexibility to it and is therefore less prone to chipping. I painted the back half of each shoe red and put that signature pokeball stripe in black as well. I was pleased as punch and showed my friend Ryuu Lavitz. Her first thought was “add a bow?” I completely agreed! 20 minutes later, I had two satin bows and a flat back pearl in place and I was in love! I even wore the shoes to work!
FINALLY, I ran out of things to procrastinate on. I had no choice but to work on the top skirt. The skirt is a circle skirt divided into 10 pieces. I put a channel in along the seam of each piece and looped a ribbon through that channel. This is what makes that very pretty gathering you see. But there’s more! The scalloped edge you see on the skirt is also created through one of my favorite tricks. I used a zig-zag stitch to sew elastic along the bottom edge of each piece. The key is to pull the elastic tightly while you sew. When the elastic returns to its normal state, it gathers the fabric with it. This helps really sell that beautifully draped scalloped edge of the top skirt.
The eyes of WeepinBELLE are one of my favorite moments in this cosplay. Look carefully. They aren’t actually black circles. They are actually 5 embroidered silhouettes of Weepinbells in a circle pointing inward. From a distance, it looks like a solid black dot. From 5 feet away, it looks like a black applique of a flower. From 5 inches away, however, the secret is learned. I didn’t tell many people this secret… Guess it’s out of the bag now! Thank you, embroidery machine!
Oh! And a note on that! I use the Brother family of embroidery machines (I have 2) but I am really loving my 2-in-1 converter embroidery/sewing machine. Best quality for price, in my opinion. I also use Thredworks embroidery software.
I am PROUD to say that after ALL that HARD WORK, I finally got to wear my costume proudly! And what’s more? I competed in the Dragon*Con masquerade! I didn’t know it was happening until the day I debuted this costume (apparently, I wandered into the competition like a cat). I was grateful that they accepted my late entry, sans music. But lady luck was on my side! I took home a plaque, which I proudly display on my wall!
Now for the part everyone really wants to see… Shameless photo collage of the costume! Please enjoy! I know I did!