Between the daily demands of the shop and doing my own cosplay thing at conventions, I rarely have time to take on large commissions anymore. But sometimes one comes along that has the right combo of intriguing design backed up by a love of the character and the customer wanting to wear it for all the right reasons. That’s what happened when Erika from GirlsGoneGeek.com contacted me about doing her first costume at DragonCon as Nubia.
I am known for having a soft spot for all things Wonder Woman. I have made and worn 5 different versions myself and made many of the Classic Wonder outfits for others. So when Erika sent me the picture of a version I had never seen before, my first instinct was “gotta make this.” It was very similar to an amazon warrior style version I’ve been wanting to make for myself but haven’t found the time. It was a bonus that Erika lived close enough to visit the shop and have everything custom fit in person, which takes a lot of the stress away from doing a commission piece. I am very picky about fit! Also, there are several versions of Nubia, but only one small photo available of this style, from one angle, so some things would have to be made up along the way.
Erika and Vanessa stopped in the shop on a Saturday so I could poke and prod and pin things to Erika. I promise I only poked her with a pin once, and she barely squealed. Already in Wonder Woman mode! Vanessa cosplays as Black Canary, and I’m pretty sure was a driving force behind getting Erika to join in on the fun.
First I sized her in a silver corset, which would be the base under a chest plate, then measured the length on the gauntlets and skirt pieces. The goal was to keep it close to the doll design, but a touch more modest with an overlapping skirt. Erika also requested a tiara to be added, because what girl doesn’t want to wear a tiara when they have a chance? To get just the right fit on the skirt pieces and make sure they lay right when it was worn, the waist band pattern was actually built around her in 3 separate pieces and pinned together so I was able to take it off and then cut out a single piece in the right shape. We also decided to make the back pieces of the skirt a little longer than the front. Later when making the skirt, I used a dress doll while adding each flap and temporarily gluing it in place before taking it off and sewing everything on. If I had added the skirt pieces with it laid flat, they wouldn’t have fallen into place correctly. After the skirt fitting was done, I measured the front of the corset to get an idea of how large to make the chestplate. The plate would be a challenge for me later on, when trying out Worbla for the first time. I had to completely undo the first attempt and make a new plate after the first one was too flimsy and couldn’t handle all the detailing being added. It was quite the learning experience/crash course in thermoplastic shaping.
The final piece was the cape, which I made so it attached to the chesplate with adjustable straps so the plate can be positioned in just the right spot. The whole piece is removable with nothing actually attached the main corset piece, so that can be worn alone or with something else. I try to make things with practicality in mind, and anyone who’s ever had to drive, eat, go to the bathroom or ride in a car while wearing an elaborate costume can tell you- being able to remove pieces is important feature.
All the hard work was worth it, the costume was a success, and in Erika’s own words: “I have to tell you how much people LOVED that costume. At the Wonder Woman shoot, there were several people who knew exactly who I was. It fit like a glove and I felt very comfortable (and glamorous). Even my kids thought it looked good, and they are a very tough room. Thank you for doing such a wonderful job!”
You can hear Erika and Vanessa chat about their experience visiting the shop and cosplaying at DragonCon on the Unique Geek Podcast: 50 Days of DragonCon – Girls Gone Geek
and read about Erika’s Wonder Woman experience on the Girls Gone Geek blog post: DragonCon 2013: Entering the Wonderful World of Cosplay