For fuller, more polite descriptions of the costuming process, please see THIS LINK.
Lycra body suits... are like footy pajamas for perverted people. When mine came in the mail, I wormed my way into it, SOMEHOW managed to zip it up by myself, and then I sat on my bed thinking "This is weird. I am weird."
And then I painted it with fabric paint and my life went terrible for like a month.
There are things that I did not understand about painting a spandex suit that I understand now.
1: It's POROUS, which meant that if I wanted to paint it while wearing it (and I DID), then I was going to be white with paint afterward.
2: The fabric loses its flexibility when painted, which essentially translates into: the parts you cover in paint become a weird fabric cast of your body. This meant a lot of discomfort when sliding my right leg in and out of the suit.
But really, things were going pretty well. I'd sit like a creeper in my boyfriend's dining room, painting myself and then blow drying my limbs for long periods of time in the hopes that I would dry before I had a spasm and got paint all over the place.
And then the incident happened. The picture above depicts the back of the suit. I could not reach my own back and boyfriend was having an aneurism every time I asked for help (because he was afraid of screwing things up), so I decided to paint the back OFF of my body. This was the single most catastrophic mistake I've ever made (dramatization).
For you see, when the paint dried, the fabric constricted, rendering it highly inflexible. When I went to put the suit on the next day - "vvvrrrrrrrrt!" the zipper, I'm not even kidding, split down the middle. And then I cried. And then my boyfriend thought I was crazy.
It was then, as I sat crumpled over in bed, crying, that I realized I wasn't having fun anymore. I had spent 6 months pulling all of this together, and this one mistake called into question all of that. Suddenly I was taking it all way too seriously. Realistically, this only happened within the final two weeks before the convention. Because before then I couldn't have been happier.
But the gods of cosplay had to remind me that I was a novice, and amateur, and most of all, they had to put me in my place for being so damn cocky.
I spent the parts of CON in costume perpetually keeping good posture, because if I bent over too far, the zipper would split. I soaked the back in peroxide, which chipped and loosened up a lot of the paint enough that I at least had some flexibility. But I cannot stress how much more comfortable I would have been had I not had the constant worry that my life could at any moment get embarrassing.
But the result...?
The reception of my costume was platinum. So many people needed my picture that it pretty much annoyed the people I was was walking around with. And it was just my luck that one of the party rooms was Zelda themed, so I kept running into people demanding that I show up there. When I did, some guy saw me, gaped, and shouted "I'm SO HAPPY you're here!!"
Got a lot of hugs that I didn't want. Got a lot of compliments that reassured me that the last six months of my life weren't wasted, and I had a really great time.
So... now I know what that's like. Now I never have to put myself through that again. I'm glad I did the character justice, and I'm glad people liked it. I'm glad I did it. I'm happy to know what it feels like to get a lot of attention at a convention. And now that I know, I can say I think I'm happier just being part of the crowd.
So, I completed the costume on time and wore it to CONvergence 2011. This is the rest of the process.
Witness my pain.
Consequently, I no longer have fingers.
So my last post left off with me dreading cutting out the rest of the detail for the facade of the Fused Shadow. This is why I was dreading it. Do you see all those lines? Ow.
And then I stuck the designs on and was relieved to see all of this take some shape... as it was confirming to me that while I was crazy, I was at least not a failure.
After this, I created the clay bits and glued them on, which was trickier than I wanted because the paperclay and the hot glue and the paper created this terrible orgy of materials that made everything not want to stick. I'm still not sure how I got it to. I put off doing the snakes FOREVER because I was afraid of screwing them up. But while they took well over a week to dry fully enough for me to glue them on, they turned out better than anticipated.
And here is the back. I got lazy and used twine to do the details back there... which wasn't the best call because it was all... twiney, and therefore more textured than I'd wanted.
And THEN. I painted it. With spray paint. From Michael's. And it was good.
I purchased a long orange wig off of eBay, which was pretty perfect in terms of color. I debated with myself over whether I was going to style it with gel, and then realized that if I somehow screwed it up I would cut myself deliberately and shut myself away in my house to never see the light of day again. So I didn't.
And it was fine. ...With the exception that it tangles if you even look at it.
The ears were made out of the same foam that the helm itself is made off. I mixed the blue color myself and I'm feeling pretty cocky about it because LOOK AT IT. The only thing that would make it better was if it glowed.
Stripes weren't painted here, don't judge.
So that was the process of the Fused Shadow. The one that I started in like bloody January and completed like in JUNE. Thank god I went to art college so that my opus could wind up being a piece of exercise mat that I wore on my head for two days.
Wanna know where it is now? The garage. Life is cruel.