Sunday, April 25, 2010

Kaylee Costume

If you find this page helpful, please use the +1 feature at the bottom for Google. I've had over 13,000 people look at this post, but it would be nice to see some feedback. Thanks! 
Updated 8/10/15

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 Ebay. 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
I found a few beads that matched here and there, but I would have needed to buy at least $25 in items. I would check Etsy to see if anyone is still making them. 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

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Word

"She was so intent on the tree that her feet splashed into the edge of the pool before she realized it was there. Bright ripples, reflecting in the ersatz* moonlight, spread for an instant, then once again the water was still and dark."
-Lirael, Garth Nix

This paragraph held my attention so much in this book I am reading. So much that I know exactly where it sits on the page when searching for it. I don't know why it calls to me, and it helped set the mood so well in this scene.

I hope to use this word someday, but I know it won't work as well. Still, I will take the risk.

*er·satz
Function: adjective
Etymology: German ersatz-, from Ersatz, noun, substitute
Date: 1875
: being a usually artificial and inferior substitute or imitation

Monday, April 12, 2010

Fargo Core Con

Core Con
When: April 16th-18th 2010
Where: AmericInn in Moorhead, MN
What: Vendors, panels, gaming, party rooms, guests, live band... and more!


Like the poster? These are some of the members of the Inner Core. My husband is front and center. I am in the back with my hair hiding my face and wearing coveralls. I love it!

Core Con is almost here! I have been working like mad woman on my Kaylee costume (which I will have a long post about in the next week or so) and getting some last minute things done for my jobs as Panel Coordinator and Swagmaster. This week I will also have to get our house cleaned up and the spare room cleaned out for our houseguest, and Artist Guest of Honor at the con, Sue Dawe. After jotting down the list of "to-dos" today, I am not very worried. I am just ready to finally have this con!

The atmosphere at our meeting yesterday was very upbeat and there wasn't much of a rush to do last minute things. In a lot of ways, we are already excited to move forward for next year's convention!

We have a lot of great things lined up for this year and we expect a great turnout. We have fun hospitality suites (party rooms), the panel room is booked solid, the vendor room is full, we have three great guests, tabletop and e-gaming rooms, costume contests, and a Rock Band tournament.... I can't wait to write a post about the actual con sometime next week!

And look out for me somewhere--- I could be anywhere between the panel room, Sue's vendor table, or in the e-gaming room (with Joey). Saturday I will be wearing the Kaylee's teddy bear coveralls from Firefly. I almost ready to wear them now, I am so ready!

Oh, for the love of con!

Natasha

Monday, April 5, 2010

Let It Spin

My days have certainly changed this past week. I have been reading on my breaks while walking in the skywalk. I edit while I eat. I am doing research slowly, setting it aside until I am done editing. I am doing a little bit every day, and it feels good.

I am a bit more lonely with the hubby starting his new job in a different building. We are both working different hours for the time being and I can now work longer and then work only a half day on Friday as the result. What will I do with that time? I am dreaming of going to a coffee shop or to the park to edit, having my hair trimmed, or going to the dentist. Could I manage it all in five hours? Probably. Maybe. We will see.

----------------------------------
We went to see Percy Jackson and the Olympians The Lightning Thief and that brush with Greek myth reminded me about how much I enjoy mythology. I went out and bought the nice hardcover box set of the Percy Jackson books (now "sold out" and the ones available $30 more than what I paid!) after seeing the movie and will probably read those after I complete Garth Nix's Abhorsen Trilogy. I was completely drawn into Percy Jackson movie with its cast of young actors and a new type of mythology of the current day gods' children with the "old" of their parents. I also found out that the author will be writing a spin-off series, as well as a different one that dips into Egyptian mythology so I am excited to see where that will lead. It is just a good way to teach children of this myth, but also give them something that they can relate to at the same time since mythology can be, you know, a bit strange at times.

We went to see Clash of the Titans on Easter and I enjoyed it. I haven't seen the original movie, but was entertained by the story and some of the special effects (Pegasus!). It was interesting to see the gods so differently than in Percy Jackson. They are much more dramatic and "heavenly" with a gleam off their clothing (or armor). I saw a lot of reviews online, mostly on Twitter, that weren't very favorable. I didn't have high expectations and wasn't at all disappointed. As Roger Ebert put it, "I like the energy, the imagination, the silliness." So much, I want to pull out the original and watch it for the first time. I think it will bring out the similar giggles that I had while watching the first The Time Machine in my Science Fiction Values class in college when the Morlocks melted. It is hard not to appreciate their special effects for that time, but still, giggles ensue!

-------------------------------
I am going to be pretty busy over the next two weeks with Core Con coming up. We need to have a new water heater installed, organize the spare room in preparation for our first houseguest, work on my Kaylee costume, assign swag for contests and prizes, create book prize packs, and that is just my list! All good things, and I need to remind myself that my head doesn't need to spin. The world can do that for me.

Natasha