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Earth's Mightiest Heroes: Wasp

It's that time of year again. Time to make a San Diego Comic Con cosplay for my favorite young client. This year, she got to me early to ask for Wasp from Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes.

And I was excited to take this one on.

I started with the headgear (because I was being too lazy to go downtown and buy fabric right away). I like to say that a lot of making cosplay is just "Finding the Thing." (Trademark.) And what I mean by that is, what's the thing that looks like the thing I'm making. Cut to: me, wandering around craft stores, quietly talking to myself, for hours on end.

This headgear is a perfect example of Find the Thing. It's made out of those battery-powered, push-to-turn-on nightlights, frosting piping tips, and the handles of cheap paintbrushes. And the headband from a pair of earmuffs. And a healthy amount of glue.

So, I took apart the nightlights and painted them using enamel paint for models because it tends to work nicely on plastic, which some paints don't.

Then I added the black detailing. I tried to do this with spray paint at first but it got through some of my taping gaps (Oops) and ate into the plastic on the green parts. Luckily I had a spare nightlight to pull pieces from (they came in a 3-pack)

Then I glued all the bits together. In retrospect, it would have worked better if I'd glued them together and then painted them, but oh well....

I glued the back covers of each nightlight to the earmuff headband, put in the batteries, and attached the earpieces. And then I had a headset.

On to the wings. (I was still putting off the sewing part of this project. Partly because I had just finished the dreaded River Song dress so I'd briefly cooled on the idea of sewing and partly because the table was set up for crafting, so I might as well stick with that for the time being.)

There's a million fairy wing tutorials on the internet and I'd actually already read several of them in preparation for a costume I was planning to make for myself. (Hopefully, that blog will follow soon.) So, much of the brainwork here was done for me. I just had to go out and buy wire and cellophane and find a good wing reference photo.

I started out by drawing a full-size template and holding it up against my dress form for scale. Then I made the outer frame of the wing by bending 12 gauge floral wire into the right shape and twisting together at the bottom.

I used a 16 gauge wire to do the inner veins and some white floral tape to hold the veins in place.

When the wire frames were complete, I laid out yellow and iridescent cellophane and sandwiched the frame inside. Then I put a towel over the top and ironed the cellophane until it formed to the frames. (Okay, it's a washcloth, but whatever.)

Once, it was mostly secure, I trimmed of the excess and used a heat gun to curl the edges of the cellophane. I had to glue a couple of spots where the cellophane was coming away from the frame--and I used some binder clips to hold the glued sections in place while the dried.

Then I set the wings aside because it was finally time to get moving on the sewing parts.

As ever, I started with a pattern--it was a pretty basic skater dress shape with leggings that I figured I would extend into boot covers for a nice smooth look. McCall's M7492 was pretty much the exact shape I needed. It even had leggings and arm gauntlets!

I pulled the pattern out and started marking out the design on the dress pieces. Then I cut them apart and labeled what needed to be yellow and what needed to be black and I started cutting.

The dress went together fairly easily. The first V-shaped seam was a bit dodgy but then I realized the trick was to sew everything except the very bottom of the V first and then go in and finagle the bottom part last. And that was how I did all the blocks except for the little black "stinger" on the back of the skirt, which I just appliqued.

Dress front

Dress back with applique "stinger"

The leggings were another story. I had planned to make them the same way as the dress but the zig-zags were too small to seam cleanly. I put them together, but they were all puckery and terrible so in the end I took them apart and appliqued the yellow edges into place.

I ran into another problem here because I wanted the leggings to go down into boot-toppers but the leggings have side-seams and boot tops need to seam in the front and back. I tried to figure out a way to do this without having an actual human leg and foot to pin around, (my leg was too big) but I just couldn't make it work so I had to put an ankle seam between the leggings and the boot-tops.

Ask me how I feel about this? Jk, don't. I hate it.

The gloves, too, turned out to be a bit thorny (it's weird, troubles tend to pop up where you weren't expecting them) because I had to incorporate the black gauntlet and the wider yellow piece, but the yellow piece needed enough body to stand stiff-ish but they couldn't be too thick when I put all the pieces together. It was a whole thing, but I think I got there in the end.

I'm also wildly grateful to this website: which came through for me with a great glove pattern when I realized that I don't actually have a glove pattern in my box o' patterns like I thought I did.

Now all the pieces were done. With only a few missteps along the way. And it was time for a fitting. There were a couple of tweaks that had to happen--shortening the pants, taking in the dress, nbd, so the whole thing was done well in advance of the convention.

But like waiting for Christmas, it finally came and she looked great!


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