I’m dyeing over here….[Pic Heavy]

^^See what I did there…….

In case it wasn’t obvious, I did a bunch of dye batches to black out Wash’s TAC vest, darken/age is flight suit, and darken/age the petticoat materials for Femme Eight.  If anyone is interested in a more in-depth tutorial on tea-dyeing, just let me know!


Most of the necessary materials & tools.
Missing: 2 large pots, 1 large bucket, white vinegar, black dye, vest

I didn’t get any photos of dyeing the TAC vest because it was pretty quick and straight-forward. (And I may have forgotten to charge my camera battery *sic*).  It took really well, except for one pocket and a few patches that I forgot to rip seams out of before hand.  Those were easily fixed with some thinned black paint, so Wash’s vest is good to go!

First thing I did was use a color-removing bath (an anti-dye bath) to remove and lighten up the flight suit and take away some of the brilliant orange.  Again, no photos because it was a quick process and done while the vest was being dyed (and the camera was still charging).  Next up was making a tea bath for the flight suit and raw fabrics.


That is not beer, surprisingly enough, though I did enjoy a bottle of Angry Orchard-Crisp Apple during this adventure.
I’m gauging the strength of the tea bath, based on the color of the tea.  I think I ended up using 20-25 tea bags for one pot.  


My dye set-up.  The pot on the left contains the tea bath, the pot on the right is just a storage pot for the wet materials as they are moved between the dye bath and the sink.  It was originally used to lighten the flight suit, pre-tea bath.

And of course my trusty mug of drinkable tea.


Flight suit soaking in the bath.  I’m pretty sure the lace and linen petticoat fabric are buried under there too.  As time went on and items were taken in and out, the bath weakened.


After the fabric is taken out of the bath and rinsed in a slowly cooling rinse, it is left to soak in a cool vinegar bath for about 15 min to help set the dye.


This was after the first tea bath, which it cook in for about an hour, but was shared with the petticoat fabric, so it was weaker.  It’s still a bit too light and not dingy enough.  Back to the tea bath we go!


After the second tea bath, I’m much happier with the color. It’s pretty close and I don’t think I want to tempt fate to try and get it any closer and muck it up.  All that is left is adding the black trimming.


WIP Progress


Good progress on Ianto.  He’s good enough for TARDIS; anything else I can find/get done is bonus.

  • Source and find correct pinstripe for Season 1 waistcoat, then build.
  • Source correct earpiece
  • Source correct, or very similar, Season 1 tie.
  • Order and get fitted for Black pinstripe suit (as similar to Seasons 2 & 3 as possible)
  • Find Dress shirts for Seasons 2 & 3 (Royal Blue, Pink, & Deep Purple)
  • Find Coordinating Ties to aforementioned Dress shirts.
  • Find Dress Shoes – something comfortable for Cons (I had seriously considered just wearing my black Chucks, but Ianto would have scowled at me.)
  • Find/Buy Black Leather Belt
  • Hand Gun (Found the exact model, just need the funds.  Currently borrowing a friend’s)
  • Stun Gun (Next big project!)  Parts acquired, just need to build.
  • Coffee Cup  (Debating on getting a ‘Ianto’s Coffee‘ mug)
  • Pocketwatch/Stopwatch (Needs more research)


Yeah, so Wash is done.  I’m wearing him for Halloween provided the weather is nice.


Just need to find a good model of the Serenity to fly around.


I may not be getting my Doctor Detector hand until after TARDIS, but that’s ok; he’s in a good place.  Jack is my back-up for a cold Halloween.

  • Pick up 1-2 more shirts (light blue and either a 2nd dark blue or go for the sea foam green with red braces)
  • Build silver earpiece  Parts acquired, just need to build.
  • Build ‘Doctor Detector’ jar.
  • Finish building leather Vortex Manipulator
  • Find/Buy new boots.

Femme Eight

I have made a TON of progress on Eight, pretty much spent several days just knocking out pieces and listening to podcasts.


Completed Corset (My first one!)


Corset with Bustle (Dat Victorian Booty)


Added Petticoat.  So. Many. Ruffles.


Added Overskirt.

All that is left for the actual outfit is to build the Vested Basque (coat), figure out what to do for the collared shirt, and make the Ascot.  After that, it’s just accessories, building a fun hair piece, and styling the wig.  Speaking of accessories, I took a break from the outfit to build the parasol over the weekend.  It’s made from a paper parasol I bought cheaply online, covered with muslin and fringe trim.  The hardest, but also most fun/crafty bit, was transferring the Seal of Rassilon design from an 8″x8″ image to a 32″ x 32″ design on the muslin.  I used a gridding method, but ended up free-handing some of the curves.


Ah.  Gridding.  The fact that the image is symmetrical actually made it harder.


After the first coat of paint.  There are a few uneven spots, but since it is going on a parasol, I think i can be forgiven.

I’m really happy with how the parasol turned out and think it will be a fun accessory to carry around.  Here’s what’s left:

  • Mock up, fit, build, and trim Vest Basque Coat
  • Research, and determine undershirt choices
  • Build Ascot
  • Build hair piece
  • Fit and style wig
  • Source Sonic Screwdriver
  • Source Pocket watch

So things are going really well!  I can’t believe Chicago TARDIS is about a month away! Holy crap!  Once that is done, I need to do some design exercises, build my portfolio and start applying to grad schools (eep!).  After that, I have a whole new rash of cosplays to work on!  I’ve been compiling a nice list of potentials!  I’ve also been bumming around the Doctor Who Cosplay forum, meeting some very awesome DW cosplayers, finding some great info, and hopefully going to get some of those fine people in the near future.

Whelp, I think that is it for now!  Hopefully I’ll get some more photos together as I finish things!  As always, lemme know if you want any more detailed write ups or tutorials.

Thanks kids!



AALLL the Cosplays!

Hey kids, did’ja miss me?

Almost another month, I know, I’m sorry!  And this still isn’t about research/sourcing.  Doubly sorry!  This post is worth it though.  I’ve made a ton of progress on stuff and have pictures to prove it!

This is how bad my Cosplay ADD is though, I’m working on 4.5 costumes concurrently.  4.5?!, you say?  Yes, 4.5. While Jack is already active and been to 2 cons, he still needs a good bit of work for me to be happy, so I consider him a .5.    I’ve also been getting involved with some of the online Doctor Who Cosplay communities.  It’s nice to connect with other folks and try to arrange meet ups at cons and other events.  Hoping to find some other Torchwood-types at TARDIS!

ANYWHO, here’s what I’ve been up to.

Ianto Jones

Season 1 Ianto came together in a flash, mostly had to build a new waistcoat and do some research on props.  He’s as good to go as Jack (har har), so I’ll definitely be representing Torchwood at TARDIS, at least.

 images (3)Research Image


Current outfit. Pretty damn good, eh?  Wore this to work last week.

IMG_0112Similar earpiece.  I need to look into getting the actual make/model, but this does for now.

Ianto’s not perfect.  Yet.  The waistcoat is the completely wrong weave (it should be a faint grey pinstripe, not a solid herringbone), the tie is the wrong pattern, the aforementioned issue with the earpiece, and my current sidearm is incorrect.  I still need to look into getting the parts for the other two seasons as well. ( I think I *may* have a tie and dress shirt that work for Season 3, and only if we are going for ‘facing-the-456 Ianto’)

HOWEVER, I am excited to have Ianto in my cosplay collection.  He packs up very easily and makes for a great impromptu cosplay.  To make him perfect requires funds/time I currently don’t have, but if I can get him to 85% on at least 2 seasons, I’ll be happy.


  • Source and find correct pinstripe for Season 1 waistcoat, then build.
  • Source correct earpiece
  • Source correct, or very similar, Season 1 tie.
  • Order and get fitted for Black pinstripe suit (as similar to Seasons 2 & 3 as possible)
  • Find Dress shirts for Seasons 2 & 3 (Royal Blue, Pink, & Deep Purple)
  • Find Coordinating Ties to aforementioned Dress shirts.
  • Find Dress Shoes – something comfortable for Cons (I had seriously considered just wearing my black Chucks, but Ianto would have scowled at me.)
  • Find/Buy Black Leather Belt
  • Hand Gun (Found the exact model, just need the funds.  Currently borrowing a friend’s)
  • Stun Gun (Next big project!)
  • Coffee Cup  (Debating on getting a ‘Ianto’s Coffee‘ mug)
  • Pocketwatch/Stopwatch (Needs more research)
  • Learn Welsh.  (I kid…..or do I?)


Oh Wash, you are so fun.  It was kind of a Wash weekend this past weekend.  Pretty much all of his components arrived and I was in enough of a crafty mood to paint dinosaurs, alter flight suits, and dye TacVests.


Bits of Wash arrived!  (Too soon?)

The TacVest was very simple to dye; just used a package of RIT Black, with some vinegar, on the stove for about 30-40 min.  All of the vest ended up a solid state of black other than the one large pocket.  I think I’ll end up taking a sharpie to it to black it out as well.


The flight suit was a quick adjustment.  Had to remove a few bits of Velcro intended for name/logo badges.  Also roughly cut off the sleeves at the shoulder to give it a little fray once it was washed. (har har)  It still needs to go through some distressing and a tea bath to take the edge off the bright ‘jail-house’ orange.  Once I can get it down to a good worn color, I’m going to edge all of the zippers with black, single fold bias tape to replicate the coloring on Wash’s flight suit.  I’m debating painting the zippers to match as well, but that may be a bit TOO much.

Maybe not.

I did have a lot of fun painting dinosaurs.  I lucked out and found some super cheap dinos that happened to be pretty darn similar to Wash’s for $2. (Had to go with a T-Rex instead of a velociraptor, but $2!)  The coloring was a big off so I had fun using a combination of wet and dry brushing to achieve proper ‘sudden, but inevitable betrayal’ coloration.


“We shall call this land…..this Land.”  Pre-paint.

IMG_0161 IMG_0160

“Curse your sudden, but inevitable, betrayal!”  Post-paint and sealer.  It is a subtle coloration difference, but the right Browncoats will know.

With all the parts in my hands, I couldn’t help suiting up and snapping a few pics.


I’m a Leaf on the Wind….

You can see the one pocket that didn’t take the dye, but already I am super happy with this.  I still need to figure out shoes, and really don’t want to have to buy another specific pair.  I may just wear my black Chucks, Jack’s boots, or Ianto’s shoes.  We shall see.  Either way, I think this is going to be my cheapest cosplay to date.  (Ianto is currently still cheaper, but that will change when I get his side arms.)


  • Distress and tea dye flight suit.
  • Add black edging to flight suit zippers.
  • Black out vest pocket.
  • Figure out shoes.
  • Source model/toy of Serenity

Jack Harkness

I haven’t made a ton of progress on Jack recently because what he needs are either little details, or extra crafting supplies I currently don’t have.  I was able to build Jack a new heather-grey pinstripe waistcoat.  It’s not perfect, but it’ll do nicely as an extra Harkness piece.  I received a nice burgundy leather war belt from a friend after a re-enactment weekend last month, and when I cut it down to size, I realized the left-over end was enough leather to build a new Vortex Manipulator!

IMG_0125I do love when a plan randomly comes together.

I’ve gotten it cut down into the necessary pieces, dyed down to a nice, rich brown, and am working on breaking in the leather and distressing it.  I still havent decided on whether I want to just set in the plastic ‘computer’ from my old toy VM, or use its parts to build a new module.  THe new VM is only about 20-30% bigger so the old module wouldn’t be TOO out-of-place, but I kinda want to play around with foam crafting and trying out some other sculpting supplies.  We shall see.

I should be getting more shirts and new boots this weekend while I’m in Chicago.


  • Pick up 1-2 more shirts (light blue and either a 2nd dark blue or go for the sea foam green with red braces)
  • Build silver earpiece
  • Build ‘Doctor Detector’ jar.
  • Finish building leather Vortex Manipulator
  • Find/Buy new boots.
  • Work on posing and mannerisms.

Bustle Femme Eight


ALLL the materials!

I may have already posted that photo, but I can’t remember.  A little bit more progress on Eight.  I’ve got everything up to the corset done, have located shoes, and am about ready to tea-day some of the fabrics.  The only thing the corset is waiting on is some of the hardware (I had to wait on this week’s paycheck to order it).  With any luck, the parts will be here by the time I get back from Chicago and can bust through the corset.  All the other items are based off the corset sizing so I’m still waiting until I can throw myself at Eight.

Initial Research: Donnie Darko

images (1)

Now, if you haven’t seen Donnie Darko, you are missing out on a crazy, thought-provoking, cult film from the early naughts.  I have to admit this movie blew my mind a bit in college, and while I understand it more now that I’ve done som research into temporal physics (and watched a lot of Doctor Who), it’s still a really good film.  I wanted to build another relatively cheap and easy, NON-DW, cosplay.  Shocker, I know.  But it’s nice to be able to go to non-DW based cons and wear more than just DW stuff.  Plus this is another really easy-to-pack cosplay and will be super comfy.  And it is a little bit niche, so it’ll take those very awesome cult-movie geeks to get it.

And did I mention it will be super comfy?  Like stayed-up-too-late-drinking-and-partying-and-really-don’t-want-to-spend-all-morning-straping-myself-into-a-large,-hot-cosplay comfy?

So progress.  Lots of progress.  Means I’ll have a nice collection to choose from for the large amount of Cons I want to attempt next year before losing myself to grad school for 3 years.  That’s right, pretty much no Cons for 3 years.  It hurts my soul a little bit, will be completely worth it in the end.

Next blog *should* be the elusive research & sourcing blog, provided I don’t get caught up in more crazy stuff.

Catch ya later, kiddos!


Those beautiful Welsh vowels….

So it’s been over a month since I last posted.  I am hugely sorry!  I had a bunch of real life happen between getting sick, designing, opening, and closing a show, and conveniently getting sick AGAIN right after.  Apparently I’m not allowed to work on cosplay….

I know I owe you all a post about researching and sourcing fabrics, using Femme Eight, and it will happen, but that is going to require more brain power than I currently have.  Instead, I’ve got updates on my current TO DOs and initial research for a “quick ‘n’ dirty” cosplay for TARDIS in November.  Be sure to check out my Facebook album of planned/hopeful cosplays to see what has changed (and changed a bit it has).

While Victorian Femme Eight is already in the process of slowly being built, sadly, Steampunk Femme Ten will most likely NOT happen for Chicago TARDIS, if at all.  I have a lot going on, other priorities, and have generally shifted away from Femme or Female portrayals in cosplay for personal reasons (nothing bad, actually VERY good things, just personal).  On top of that, my cosplay budget has had to shrink so I have to rethink some of my plans and focus on the “cheaper” costumes/characters for a little while.  So for now, my short-term goals are updating Jaq Harkness, building Wash, and researching and building Ianto Jones.  I’m hoping to bring both Jaq and Ianto to TARDIS, along with Femme Eight.


Progress Reports

Victorian Femme Eight:

I haven’t done A TON yet, BUT all of the fabric & materials have been ordered and I started building the undergarments.  I’m currently waiting on a friend to be free to help me with the corset, so once that is built, everything is based on that and should move relatively quickly.  I DID find replica fabric of the waistcoat, which was the hardest material to match, so I am super excited.  I’ll get more into sourcing next blog, I promise.

Captain Jaq Harkness:

  • Find 1-2 new pair of slacks – better fitted and NOT pinstripe New pair is a little big, but the right dark charcoal and fit WAY better.
  • Pick up 1-2 more shirts (light blue and either a 2nd dark blue or go for the sea foam green with red braces)
  • Do additional research to determine correct # of coat buttons (I keep seeing a coat with 10 buttons, not 8 and I’m confused) Looks like it is 10 buttons.  I’ll have to see if I have any spares, or maybe steal the big ones off the sleeves.
  • Build silver earpiece
  • Build a waistcoat or two. Done, but need to be rebuilt since I’ve lost weight and will no longer be doing a Genderswap version, but a male version.
  • Build ‘Doctor Detector’ jar.
  • Build leather Vortex Manipulator.
  • Seriously considering dying my hair down to a rich chestnut-brown, though probably only temporary.  It would be good for Jaq, Ten, & Eight.  *ponder* This is happening.  Going to experiment with short term dyes soon.
  • Work on posing and mannerisms.
  • Find a Ianto to make me tea while I work.  ^.^ Ok, I haven’t found a Ianto for my Jack, but I am building a Ianto for other Jacks, AND I found another 10.  😀
  • Find/purchase new boots.

Hoban ‘Wash’ Washburne:

  • Orange zippered flight suit (Sourced. Needs to be ordered, dyed, & distressed)
  • Brown long-sleeved undershirt
  • Black mesh multi pocket vest
  • Black boots (share with Jack?)
  • Plastic dinosaurs (Purple Stegosaurus & Orange/Rust T-rex)
  • Plastic Scale Model of Serenity (so I can fly it around Cons like a 6-year-old with a toy plane.  Dead Serious.)

Initial Research

While my extroverted/public side tends to stray towards Jack, as generally an introvert, I’ve always sympathized, been intrigued by, and felt some kinship with Ianto Jones, Jack’s team member, and eventual partner, in Torchwood.

images (1)

There aren’t enough well-dressed Teaboy-Soldiers in the world.

He experiences ONE HELL of a character arc over the course of three seasons, despite not being a primary character for at least the first half of season one.  He’s calm, collected, snarky, BRILLIANT, can reign in Jack, generally holds the team together, and dresses like the classy badass he is.  And even 3 years after he was killed off, the shrine to him still stands in Cardiff.

The real question would be WHICH Ianto outfit to use.  His overall look is generally always the same, but so many great & memorable combinations….

images (3)

End of Season 1: “Captain Jack Harkness” (I already have most of this)

images (2)

Season 2:  “To the Last Man”


Season Two: “Fragments”

tumblr_luuk3otbO71r1w5ynSeason Three: “Children of Earth”


Season Three: “Children of Earth”

The beauty of a Ianto cosplay is that anything I buy/build/put together I will wear in real life.  I greatly admire that style of attire and tend to dress similar 40-50% of the time (less suit coat, more Chucks though).

  • Tailored Pinstripe 3-piece Suit OR Slacks & Waistcoat (for more Action Ianto)
  • Dress Shirt
  • Tie
  • Dress Shoes
  • Belt
  • Hand Gun
  • Stun Gun
  • Ear Piece (use Jaq’s black wrap ear piece)
  • Coffee Cup  😉
  • Pocketwatch/Stopwatch

So there we are. I know its not the informative, educational blog you were looking forward to, but I’m a bit busy and a bit under the weather.  And I tried.  I swear.  Plus everyone is ramping up for GenCon and/or Dragon*Con and it makes me just a tad sad I can’t go.  *pout*

You still love me, right?  😉

Catch you guys later!



Bustles and Steam and Doctors, OH MY!

Happy 4th of July, adoring fan(s)!  For those of you visiting from outside of the USA, HAPPY THURSDAY!  *throws confetti*

I’m not one to really get into the parades and fireworks and crowds and food, so unless there is a really great band playing at the local festival or a cook out with friends, I tend to stay home and work on projects.  And watch tv.  And read.  And blog.

Yeah I’m lame.  Thanks for the reminder.  >.<

The upside to my general social avoidance is that I work on a lot of projects, often at the same time (unless I’m stuck on a show or book).  So about two weeks ago I had a “Right Brain” weekend and just spent it making and doing and generally being creative.  I was able to get several designs I had bouncing around my head for months out onto paper, finished up several projects that had been hanging around, made a bunch of good food, discovered the AC/DC channel on Pandora (holy crap its amazing!) cleaned the house, etc.  It was a great weekend.  But I figured I could share my two designs with you, since they are going to be the big occupiers of this blog for the next several months, as I get things together, built, and documented.

Bustled Femme Eighth Doctor

So I am a very big fan of Paul McGann and his Eighth Doctor.  Yeah, he was technically only onscreen for 89 min in a campy movie in 1996.  But what movie in 1996 WASN’T campy?  And his portrayal of the Doctor was charming, fun, delightful, and I felt a real continuation of the same character from the end of the Classic series in ’89.  Plus, since then, Eight has been brought back to life through various comics, novels, and an AMAZING array of radio dramas courtesy of Big Finish Productions.  (Seriously, if you haven’t checked out any of their works, DO IT).  He has really been fleshed out as a wonderous character and really bridges that gap between the ’96 movie, the ’05 reboot, and who the Doctor was before going into the Time War.   Honestly, Eight is probably my 2nd favorite Doctor, after Tennant’s Ten.  Well, they are all my favorite, because the Doctor is my favorite, but I REALLY enjoy Eight’s stories, he is fun and charming, and his companions are generally brilliant.


Eighth Doctor Promo Pic for the movie.  The lighting/coloring makes everything a little warmer than normal, but you still get the general idea.

While the idea of the Femme Ten (see below) had been bouncing around in my head for over 6 months (it was the original basis of this blog), Bustled Femme Eight happened upon me just a few weeks ago while I was listening to one of the radio dramas and doing some costume research for Ten.  Ten was taking a while to figure out, heading in a design direction I hadn’t originally intended, and I really wanted to do something still in the Victorian Bustle era.  So it hit me…why not do a as-true-as-possible-to-era rendition of a Femme Eight? According to the movie, his outfit was originally supposed to be a “Wild Bill Hickok” costume, he maintains the ‘gentlemanly’ nature and manners throughout the radio dramas, and his TARDIS already has a pseudo-steampunky look (before it was cool).


Eight’s costume on display at the DW Experience in Cardff.    The lighting is a bit better for determining proper colors, though the vest & cravat seem to be ‘golder’ than in the film.  I’m personally leaning to the silver/cool side of the palette seen in the film.

So I did a little research, determined to go with an Early Bustle Period outfit (the time period Wild Bill was around), sourced some potential patterns, popped in the ’96 movie, and knocked out a design!


Final Design Drawing with Notes and Musings about Accessories.

I am so very excited about this, particularly the ‘Seal of Rassilon’ parasol.  I don’t why that makes me giddy, but it does.

I decided to not do ANY steampunk with this design and keep it purely Victorian.  As much as I enjoy Steampunk, it can overtake a design, and I think Eight just lends to a more classic look.   The beauty of doing something like this means I’ll have all of the undergarments made for any future Victorian/Bustle designs, whether they be cosplay or just re-enactment based.  This is also the first design I’m considering getting a wig for.  Not that my hair couldn’t achieve the look, but I’ve been discovering that it tends to not want to cooperate when I need it to, and is often too susceptible to heat/humidity to rely on it through a variety of climates and cons.

So the design is made up of:

  • Undergarments & Corset
  • Early Period Wire Bustle
  • Ruffled Petticoat
  • Tassle Trimmed Apron Overskirt
  • Collared Blouse
  • Vested Basque with Tails
  • Cravat
  • Parasol

I’ve already sourced and purchased all of the relevant patterns, have started my fabric research and sourcing, and have set up a few “crafting dates” with friends to build our corsets.  I’ll cover all of that more in detail in a later blog!

Onto the OTHER idea bouncing around my brain:

Steampunk Femme Tenth Doctor

So when Mari and I decided to start cosplaying, our very first plan had been to do a spin on “Time Crash” and cosplay as Femme Five and Ten and recreate the special….then we decided to make it a little bit more fun and make it Steampunk Femme Five & Ten

This was a glorious day on television/YouTube.  And that was BEFORE they became related.

Not long after we got started, I made some preliminary drawings of a design I had bouncing around.  I’m not sure what happened to those drawings, I’ll add them later if I find them.  Initially the design was for a full bustled skirt, long-tailed basque, and full length coat.  And the accessories were a bit too modern/directly similar to the props from the show, as opposed to being turned “Steampunk”.  I let it stew for several months while I got caught up in watching ‘Torchwood’, planning for our first con, and getting Jaq Harkness built.  I sat and though about it and thought about Ten as a character and his general actions and reactions as a character.  I came to the conclusion that Ten does FAR too much running for any sort of bustled or heavy skirt.

The man is all legs and amazing hair in a gorgeous suit and stellar long coat.  Oh, and this was here as additional research on the suit, shirt, and tie.  *smirk*

During some of my initial pattern research for both Eight & Ten, I happened across a set of patterns for a 1900’s Riding Suit with a split skirt and a nice long coat.  This seems to be the PERFECT thing for a Steamy Ten.  It still fits within the Steampunk timeframe, albeit the end of it, but it works within the ideals of Ten as a character.


Final Design with Coat, with notes and musings on Accessories; remember to always bring a banana to a party.

I know the drawing still pretty much looks like Ten’s suit with wide trousers and a riding hat, but that’s the cut.  I think the split skirt will be fuller than I think and I can tailor the coats a little better to make them definitely feminine, but it’s hard to not just make this another suit.  Overall I really think it will work though, especially once I add some Steampunky accessories.

IMG_4017Final Design without Coat; very suit-ish

The parts of this design so far are:

  • Undergarments & Corset
  • Riding Split Skirt
  • Riding Jacket
  • Riding Vented Coat
  • Blouse
  • Ascot
  • Hat

I’ve got plans for adding some clockwork embroidery to the edge and lapels of the long coat, using clockwork and gear styled buttons on the coat and suit jacket, perhaps adding some extra chains to the fob watch collection, and definitely going to add some flair and retro-fit some of Ten’s normal things.  I’m making a wire frame with multiple colored glass set of brainy specs (think of the crazy contraption he wore in ‘Sound of Drums’), definitely making a clock and gear style Timey-Wimey Detector (it will still go DING! when there’s stuff!), and I have already replaced the 3D glasses from ‘Doomsday’ with a fantastic pair of 3D goggles.  I’m also thinking about making the cameo throat pin for the Ascot be either the Seal of Rassilon (I know I know, I’ve got a thing) or perhaps the Gallifreyan design from the Chameleon Arch fob watch:

It really would make a super cool cameo pin.

What I’m most excited to make, though, is the riding hat.  Yeah yeah, I KNOW Ten doesn’t really ever wear a hat (other than the straw hat in End of Time), but a). I’m making a Riding Suit, it needs a Riding Hat and 2).  I’m hoping to evoke Ten’s crazy hair with a really cool feather arrangement in the hat band, accompanied by some gears and other timey-wimey bits, and the 3D goggles.  I’ve already got a set of pheasant feathers that could be a lot of fun.

That’s it for Ten for now.  I’m generally focusing on getting Eight accomplished first, so I will have SOMETHING definitely done for TARDIS, and I still want to refine Ten a bit before I start putting money into her design.  I’m also having some issues sourcing fabric for Ten, so more time I have available to find just the right fabric, the better.

OH!  A quick bit of fun.  Looks like I have a reason to make a modern Genderswap Ten as well!  Josh, the Nine we ran into at C3, is looking to do a Genderswap Donna from ‘Journey’s End’ and needs a swapped Doctor.  I think I’ve sourced a pretty decent brown pinstripe to use, though the pinstripes are white.  :/  For the right price, I may just deal with it for a potential one-off.

HEHE, too much fun.  I may be able to use the Riding Coat from Steamy Ten for this as well.  Hrmmm

So there we have it.  Another blog down for another week!  We will be moving into bi-monthly posting, instead of weekly, due to a bit of con-lull and the fact that I’m not sure how much progress I’ll be making weekly thanks to life. (boo hiss, life)  But!! There sure is a lot of fun stuff on the horizon, and we are really starting to get into the meat of these awesome projects!!  If you see anything you really like or want to know how to do, please let us know!

Thanks again, cyberland!



[Tutorial]Paint Antiquing for Jack Harkness RAF Buttons

Here ya go, Jamee!  I hope this helps you finish your Jack costume!  Send us pics when you are done!  We’d love to see how great you look!

This is my first attempt at a tutorial, and a written tutorial at that, so please bear with me. With my spiffy new laptop, I can hopefully make video tutorials in the future if anyone is interested. That disclaimer out-of-the-way, down to business.

Materials & Tools Needed:

  • Replica WWII RAF King’s Crown buttons (I got mine from http://onlinemilitaria.net/)
  • Brown Acrylic Paint
  • Black Acrylic Paint
  • Clear Matte Finishing Spray
  • Newsprint (or other protection for your work space)
  • Paint Tray/Paper Plate
  • Water & (Paper)Towel
  • #12 Flat Brush
  • #6 or 8 Round/Detail Brush
  • Spare brush or other tool to mix your paint
  • Soft Rag without a pile (I use old, cut-up jersey t-shirts)

So you have found and acquired your RAF buttons.  CONGRATS!  You are that much closer to being Capt. Jack Harkness.  Now those pesky replicas are a bit too bright and shiny-new for our good immortal Captain, and his nearly immortal great coat. Luckily we can knock down that sheen, and bring out some of the additional details of the King’s Crown embossed on the buttons, with just a little bit of paint and patience.


1). Mix your paint & prep your buttons

Your paint should be a very dark brown, almost black.  Seriously, it is just a hint of brown.  If you are worried or don’t have the time to fiddle with paint mixing, straight black is fine, but looking back at mine, a little bit of brown would have added some extra depth and tone.  Regardless, mix enough water into your paint so it becomes the consistency of heavy cream or custard; not gloopy, but not runny either.

Be sure you clean up your buttons from their trip to your house.  Nothing too fancy, just a quick wipe down with a damp cloth is fine. Make sure your buttons are completely dry before moving to step #2, otherwise your dry brushing won’t work as well.


2). First Coat: Dry Brush

Load your flat brush with paint by dabbling it into the color.  Don’t scoop, smear, or anything else.  You want a straight up and down dab, like you were applying a rubber stamp.  From there, dab your brush a few time on a scrap of paper or towel to evenly distribute the paint and make sure it isn’t too gloopy or overloaded.

You want to apply the paint to the button in the same fashion.  Dab firmly onto the button, making sure to push into the various valleys/creases/depressions in the button design.  Coat the entire button like this.  I even went around to the underside of the button, but that isn’t necessary.  Your button will look something like this:


Set your button down to dry and repeat with the rest of your buttons.  Let them all dry completely, shouldnt take more than 20 min.  From here, using your dry rag, lightly wipe off each button.  You are looking to remove the paint from the raised areas of the button, while leaving the paint in the recessed areas.  This is what creates the exaggerated shadowing and builds the base for the antique patina.

3). Second Coat: Wet Wash

Once you’ve wiped all of your dry brushed buttons, they should look something like this:


We need to smooth out those rough paint edges and add some more color to the buttons to darken them up.  You want to heavily water down your paint.    You are looking for something similar to thin ink, it should be more water than paint.  Generally I make a wash by adding paint to water until it’s the right color & consistency.

Load your round/detail brush with the paint, but not to the point of dripping.  (That’s for later ^.^)  Lightly apply the wash to the entire button, you don’t want to re-hydrate the dried paint and cause it to run/smear.  Add the wash to the areas of the button that needs more shadowing and smooth out the rough edges of the dry paint.  Repeat this process with all of your buttons, and let dry thoroughly.

(I realize this differs from the method I mentioned in my previous blog, but this really is the best method. The rag method is still good, but if you have the patience for the brush, it is worth it. And it’s a little less messy.)

4). Third Coat: Spatter (Optional)

While a spatter coat is optional, I feel it adds additional depth and creates those odd shadows that naturally occur on weathered objects.   There are two ways to add a spatter coat, dry or wet.

Dry method: Gather all of your buttons together and set them up so they are all facing the same direction and generally set the same way up.  Water down your color wash a little bit more and heavily load your round brush with the wash.  Sharply tap the center of the brush handle against a finger of your opposite hand.  This should create a small shower of paint droplets in a spatter pattern.  Test this a few times on a piece of scrap or towel until you get the hang of it.  Once you do, still perform a few initial taps after each time you reload your brush to evenly distribute the paint.  Now spatter across your buttons.  You don’t want too heavy or large, so keep it short and don’t get too close to the buttons.

Wet method: Similar method to the Dry method, BUT you want to apply a very light layer of water onto your buttons before you start spattering.  If your previous wet wash starts to run, you are using too much water.   Using this method means you have to work quickly, but it does create a more subtle layering effect.

If you have the time, practice with both styles and see which fits your project better.

5). Final Coat: ‘Polishing’ and Finishing Spray

By this point, your buttons should have a nice aged effect going on.  If you aren’t fully satisfied, re-try a few of the previous steps to try to achieve the right look.  Layers of color and effect are a good thing!  Now let them dry!

When I got to this point, I felt my dark wash had left the high points of the crown and eagle a bit too dark.  Using a dry section of my trusty jersey rag, I carefully rubbed each button to “polish” the high areas.  You need to be careful at this step, or you risk rubbing off too much paint and having to add another layer again.  (Voice Of Experience) Your buttons should look similar to these:


Once they are completely dry, thoroughly spray them down with your matte finishing spray.  Keep an even coat, otherwise you risk having the spray collecting in the depressions and/or rehydrating your paint and smearing it.  Give it a second coat and some space to dry.  If you can let them dry overnight, I would recommend it just to be safe.  Sticky buttons are no fun!

6). Attach & Enjoy!

Once your buttons are completely dry, sew them onto your coat, grab your Vortex Manipulator and swagger off in search of your Doctor!


Congrats!  And well done!

Thanks for sticking around!  I hope all of my instructions made sense, and that you learned a new skill to help you on your adventures!

If you have any questions/comments/thoughts/suggestions/things-you’d-like-to-see, please feel free to leave a comment or shoot me a message!



Some Minor Technical Difficulties…

Nothing I can’t whack with a mallet, though.

No official fun blog this week, sorry kids.  Mari is prepping to go on vacation for all of next week, my home computer finally died (poor old thing), and its replacement doesn’t arrive until early next week.  (I’m actually writing this from the computer at work.  sssshhh.)  The upside of a new laptop means I’ll have the equipment to start making video tutorials and the like.

That means I have to learn about  Skype.  Crap.  >.<

Next week there should be some final decisions made about my Femme Eight & SteamFemme Ten projects, and hopefully some accompanying design drawings.  I’ve sourced a few places for fabrics and other materials and will hopefully spin that into an upcoming blog as well.

Please bear with us during this Con-lull, but don’t be surprised if we down-shift into blogs every OTHER week for the next few months, instead of our usual Thursday dribble.

For now, here’s a Tea Rex for your amusement:




Random Synaptic Firings….

I’ve got about 50 million things flying about my head today, so I’m apologizing now for the high potential of random, rambly, brain detritus that is going to happen in today’s blog.  I’m going to attempt some semblance of order, but I may get as far as topic headings before the synaptic dump happens.  I’m not sure if I’ve had too much tea, or not enough, so….good luck everyone!

New Cosplay Ideas/Plans

It seems like everything I watch/read/stumble-upon-on-Facebook could make for a really awesome cosplay, which has sent my brain into overclock (see above warning).  So instead of just trying to keep a list here, I went ahead and created an album on Facebook of all of my potential cosplay ideas.  It seems like an easier place to store them as I think of them and is easier to recall/access.  Some of the stuff I recently added are:

Pam Poovy – “Archer”

Debating between ‘Office Pam’ and ‘Street fight Pam’; either way, there will be props

Femme Eight – ‘Doctor Who’

I’m going to leave the Steampunky bits to Steamy-Femme Ten, so I think this will just be a direct Victorian Femme; plus I REALLY want to make a Seal of Rassilon parasol.  ^.^

Brienne of Tarth – ‘Game of Thrones’

I’m tall enough, brawny enough, and do love armor.  So very tempting.  Not sure if I can be fugly enough, thought to be fair, HBO Brienne is NOT fugly.

Asha Greyjoy – ‘Game of Thrones’

Asha was offered up as a counter to Brienne.  Definitely possible, but I dunno, I like Brienne’s fierceness, and come on, ARMOR.

So yeah.  So many ideas.  So little time/funding.  I think, for now, I’m going to work on the Femme Eight & Steamy-Femme Ten in prep for Chicago TARDIS in November.  Eight is going to be a bit more generic and I think I’m going to stick to generally commercial patterns to make it come together a bit faster.  Steamy Ten is going to take some time and probably be draped and built from scratch.   Hopefully I can sit down and do some design sketches this weekend.  *fingers crossed*  Speaking of, I think I finally sourced a decent pinstripe fabric, but I’ll save that for another blog.

Current Costume Thoughts/Review

Now that I have two Cons under my belt, time to consider the two costumes I have and what I can do to improve them.

Femme Dr. Horrible

Ignore the grumpy face, I hadn’t had a morning cup yet.

For my first kinda “true” cosplay, it went alright.  It was recognizable, photogenic, and comfortable.  But I just wasn’t feeling it. If it’s something Mari and I really want to do again, I think I may completely redo it as the main white coat and boots, and actually build the Freeze Ray instead of a Death Ray.

I’m thinking this may actually become a one-off and save it for a future HalloWhedon party.  We shall see.

Capt. Jaq. Harkness

One of these days I will get a good Jaq photo.  Until then, Tony Stark.

For originally being a “quick n’ dirty”, find whatever I can on the cheap at resale shops, thrown-together cosplay, Jaq is brilliant.  Absolutely BRILLIANT.  And an utter blast to cosplay.   Even with all the ideas I’ve got bouncing around, she’s my favorite.  Which, of course, means I need to do a lot of upgrading, perfecting, and generally making better.  Things I can think of right now:

  • Find 1-2 new pair of slacks – better fitted and NOT pinstripe
  • Pick up 1-2 more shirts (light blue and maybe a sea foam green or stripe) and maybe the red braces.
  • Do additional research to determine correct # of coat buttons (I keep seeing a coat with 10 buttons, not 8 and I’m confused)
  • Build new Torchwood inspired earpiece (the silver-grey one, I’ve already got a nice wrap black one)
  • Build a waistcoat or two.
  • Build bubbly, light up water tight jar for my “Utopia’ Doctor Detector hand (my MandoMerc friend, Curt, is making me a wiggly prosthetic hand.  I’m sooo excited about this)
  • Build a new Vortex Manipulator.  The toy one is just too small and I don’t like the plastic.  Needs to be about 30% bigger and leather.
  • Seriously considering dying my hair down to a rich chestnut-brown, though probably only temporary.  It would be good for Jaq, Ten, & Eight.  *ponder*
  • Work on posing and mannerisms.  Finally got the swagger down, but gotta work out some good photo poses.
  • Find a Ianto to make me tea while I work.  ^.^

Initial Research/Planning

I *should* be working on Femme Eight or Ten, but frag it, I’m thinking I’m going to daydream about Genderswap Wash, from Firefly.

Hoban “Wash” Washburne

I love Wash.  How can you not?  He’s witty, sarcastic, married to a badass, and just mad enough to fly the Serenity with the likes of Malcolm Reynolds.  On top of that, the beauty of the character is that it seems to be written in a way that it could have been played by a male or female, with only slight alterations to plot/back story.  Honestly, Zoe & Wash’s relationship would have been practically the same whether it had been hetero- or homosexual in nature, which makes it perfect for Genderswap cosplaying.

I’m aiming specifically for the outfit Wash wears in the pilot episode “Serenity”, since it is pretty recognizable, looks comfy, and should be relatively easy to recreate.

Plus I get to run around with plastic dinosaurs and recreate THIS scene.

I think the hardest part is going to be finding the right orange flight suit, hopefully everything else can be easily acquired at Goodwill.  Here’s the breakdown:

  • Orange zippered flight suit
  • Brown long-sleeved (thermal?) undershirt
  • Black mesh multi pocket vest
  • Black boots
  • Plastic dinosaurs (Purple Stegosaurus & Orange/Rust T-rex)
  • Plastic Scale Model of Serenity (so I can fly it around Cons like a 6-year-old with a toy plane.  Dead Serious.)

I think I need to rewatch the episode a few times to nail down the details, but that’s pretty much it.  I’ve already got ideas for hair and make up, need to brush up on my Mandarin curses, and we are golden.

Other Bits

So a bit of sucky/sad news.  Mari and I talked a good bit and it looks like Dragon*Con is just not going to work this year.  Between financials and some medical issues, we’ve agreed to put it off one more year.  Only one more I swear.  Come hell or high water, I’m going next year.  The upside is I’m going to put that money towards hopefully going to MegaCon and/or C2E2 next spring instead!

On the flipside, I FINALLY got my Torchwood tattoo!

Team Torchwood

I’m super excited about this because I spent a long time trying to figure out what I could use as a good base and balance point to the Mjolnir I have on the other wrist.  I had been rewatching Torchwood and about two-thirds of the way through the series, it smacked me upside the head to use the logo.  It’s relevant to the rest of the sleeve and looks damn good.  Squeee.

Well, there it is.  Thanks for bearing with me on this rambly day of rambleness.   I’m going to try for more concise in the future, but honestly, once the brain gob gets going, it doesn’t really stop.  >.<

Until Next Time, Cheers!