Sunday, April 25, 2010

Kaylee Costume

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I made my very first costume for Core Con, the sci fi and fantasy convention that I help run. I do have two other costumes, a Jedi and Corellian (think Han Solo) from Star Wars. However, my good friend Sue Dawe was the brains and heart behind them. I love them, but after ten years, it is time that I do something different.

I am not the best with sewing machines, but I am not too bad with hand stitching. I figured, also, that maybe going "back to the basics" would be a good thing. I am in love with so many shows these days (Buffy, Dollhouse, Stargate, Doctor Who, Smallville), but my mind instantly went to Firefly. I would have loved to have done Zoe and Wash with my husband (we could be Joey and Tash!), but my mind went instantly to Kaylee. I actually have the same coloring as her, and her costume would be comfortable and pretty "basic" to create with my limited talent. So, I decided to do the bear coveralls.

So, that's what I did. I have been collecting items for the costume since Comic Con, where I picked up the bear patch from the California Browncoats booth (which was also where we saw Nathan Fillion and snagged his autograph!). I used this patch as a reminder that I must do this!

Coveralls
I don't have access to any Army surplus stores in Fargo, ND so I had to hit the online ones. I almost ordered this one (1, in olive), but decided go with this (2) one since the color and material seemed a better match. I ordered a medium, which fits perfectly and I don't need to hem them (I am 5'5"). The pair that I received had two pockets on the front so I removed the one and the sleeves. Kaylee's coveralls also has an exposed gold zipper, but this pair has buttons. I could have kept the buttons, but decided against it since it would take forever to get in and out of the bathroom. So, we added a 24" inch gold zipper made for heavy duty coveralls from the local Joann Fabrics store.

The thing that really was hard for me was making Kaylee's jumpsuit, well, dirty! I didn't want to run around con smelling like oil and dirt, but isn't that Kaylee? Or do things smell different in space or does everyone on a spaceship smell like the spaceship? Also, it would be nice to have stains that I don't wash out or have to reapply each time I do.

So I went to different boards and to my experienced costumers to find these suggestions:
1) Run it over with the car
2) Tea or coffee stains
3) Spraypaint

What did I use? My friend, and guest artist for Core Con, did an airbrush demo for our convention. I ordered the CO2 tank, talked to her about all things related to it (I am the Panel Coordinator), and it never occured to me to ask her to airbrush it. Secretly, I wanted to surprise her since I wanted it "accurate" and it is the first costume I ever made. Also, I was going to spraypaint it and this was such a better solution.


Patches
There are three patches on Kaylee's coveralls: the bear, the heart, and the flower. As I mentioned before, I bought the bear at Comic Con '09 at the Browncoats booth. You can also find them here or try Ebay. Right now that is the only website that I can find that carries them, but it is for a 10-pack.

I bought my heart and blue flower patches from this store. There are still some available. The size of the flower is about 1.25" x 1.5" inch and it has a yellow center like Kaylee's. It is shiny around the edges, but it makes do. The size of the heart is about 2.75" x 3" inches. There is another red heart in the store too if you want something different. This one also has a bit of a shine to it.

Chinese Characters
I found a few resources for the characters on Kaylee's costume, and this one is by far the most useful. While practicing writing the characters, I was trying to do the correct stroke (thin or thick), but it you take a closer look on the costume, you will see a medium to thick stroke would be accurate for the coveralls. I am used a waterproof calligraphy pen to write them on and I love how they look!

Necklace
You used to be able to order Kaylee's pink bead necklace here so maybe check it out to see if she is making them again. I found a few beads that matched here and there, but I would have needed to buy at least $25 in items. I looked around Etsy and found this great bead. It is not exactly the tube style bead, it is a bit thicker, but the design fits perfectly. I bought tan suede from a local hobby store and made it 18" long. I had our local bead place put the metal hook on it to go on the suede that cost me like 80 cents. Not too bad. The necklace came to about $10.

Shirt
The hardest part about this costume is finding the right love-sleeved pink shirt that I wanted. I checked all the places people suggested, Googled all types of descriptions, and didn't come up with anything accurate. I finally had to go with something "Kaylee like" that I picked up a local store for $5. I like that there are a few shirt to use, so I wouldn't feel limited by the pink one.

Now for the unveiling of the results of my Kaylee costume....

Additional Links:
Serenifly Costumes
This website has screenshots of Kaylee's costumes from all the episodes and the movies. There are various shirts worn with the bear coveralls that you can check out in these shots.

Maggie's Costume Site
I referred to this website the most in my quest. It has similar links to what I give you, but it details her own journey in creating her Kaylee costume (with parasol and jacket).

Firefly/Serenity Costuming
Livejournal has some great community resources for all types of fandom. Go here for people's various experiences and tips on how to make various Firefly/Serenity costumes. Be sure to use the tags to help narrow down your search.

Natasha

13 comments:

  1. I'm planning on cosplaying Kaylee at a Joss convention in Oct and found this very helpful! :)
    Really like your Kaylee costume!

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  2. Hey!
    My house is doing a Firefly theme group costume this year and I've decided to be Kaylee! We're all quite excited because we're huge fans and are incredibly overjoyed to get to do this costume. In any case, I've started assembling all of the things that I need for the costume. I happened upon your site here and noticed that you used the same coveralls that I bought. I'd love some more information about what sort of zipper you used, as well as how you made the bottom section of the zipper/button area look so nice? That section seems like it will prove a bit tricky and I'd really love to get mine as nice as yours!

    Thanks!
    Shelley

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  3. @Kim- Thanks for the comments. I really appreciate it!

    @Shelley- I'm sorry it took so long to get back to you. I went to our local JoAnn's Fabric store to buy a zipper. I had to settle for a light brown color that is a bit noticeable only at the top. My husband and a friend were nice enough to sew it in for me. The bottom came apart, but my friend (a master at sewing) found a way to get it to stay. I wish I knew more details for you in those regards.

    Hope both your costumes turn out great. Feel free to send pictures or any tips so I can update the blog post. Appreciate it!

    Best,
    Natasha

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  4. Hey!! First of all your costume is FABULOUS! :D I'm looking into costuming Kaylee, and this is by far the best step by step I have found lol. As far as the jumpsuit goes, I was wondering about size. I'm pretty tall (alsmot 5'8) and I'm a bit chunky (like, a 13 in the waist). I know there are promo images where they are rolled up so I'm not too too concerned about the leg length though I'm usually 34L, but do you think I would fit in a Medium? I don't want to drown in it, and I can only sew by hand so I was hoping I could get an opinion. Thanks!!

    -- Holly
    tonksiford@gmail.com

    (it didn't like my lj name lol)

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  5. I sent you an e-mail, but a medium should work. Thanks for the compliments. I glad the blog post helped! Cheers!

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  6. Hey, thanks for your help. I'm going to Origins 2011 and needed some Kaylee duds. I've just placed my orders!

    FYI - Here is an Etsy seller who makes Firefly-related jewelry (including Kaylee's necklace, earrings, Zoe's choker, etc.).
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/NalaSerenity

    Peeps might want to check her out and see if she has anything in stock. I just bought her one Kaylee necklace. I can't wait!

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  7. Thanks Katie for sharing! Feel free to share your costume when it is finished. Hope the post was of some help to you.

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  8. How did you remove that one pocket? Please tell me. Because I am cosplaying as Kaylee for dragoncon this year and really want accuracy. But I'm buying it from the other place you are buying it from. ( the other place aka mujumpsuits.com) Please answer this question by emailing me at brittLkizziah@gamil.com. Pretty please with a strawberry on top!( did you see my firefly kaylee reference there" Strawberry") Thank you so very much!!!!!! this means a lot!!!!!!!!! Love your cosplay!!!!!! very unique!!!!!!!

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  9. Ha! Loved the reference! I e-mailed the answer to you, but really, I just used a seam ripper. There might be some hint of a pocket once being there (darker fabric in the shape of it). Don't worry about it since you will have to dirty it up anyway. No one said a thing about it so far. Thanks for the compliments and have a blast at DragonCon. Would love to go there someday!

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  10. Hey I left a comment earlier about how to remove the pocket. Thanks very much for the answer it was really helpful:) Anyways um... I have another question I am ordering my jumpsuit right now and decided that I am going to buy the jumpsuit from the place you bought yours. I am 5'4 and Im like my waist is about 32 inches. Which size would fit me? Im afraid to get the small because it might be to small because I am kinda tiny:):):) Do you have any ideas? Thanks for your time!!!!!:)

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  11. I will say if you are smaller than a 13 or a 14 in clothes (since you say you are kinda tiny), a small might be fine. I ordered a medium and it fits just right. When I added the zipper, it didn't take in that much so that shouldn't cause any problems. Hope that helps!

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  12. This is gorgeous, I am myself putting together a Kaylee costume. And ironically enough I was going back and forth on the exact same overalls. AND I ended up with the same one. What is pussling me is that yours seems to be more green and more like Kaylees? I was a bitt worried about the ones I ordered to be a bit too grey. Did you color it? Again it's a really good cosplay and thanks for the post, I will certainly visit again!

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    Replies
    1. Sorry that I didn't see this until now. I didn't color my overalls at all so I hope you found the same for your pair. Hope it turned out great and thanks for stopping by! Stay shiny!

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