I've been an on-and-off lurker 'round these parts for quite some time, and I figured I might as well ante up and finally join, and post a long and rambling recount of my adventures in cosplayery.
This place is just such a treasure trove of informative little tidbits, so I can only hope that my experiences with this outfit might help someone else out later down the line. :>
But first, let me post the 'finished' shots of my Sark outfit so people can avoid having to trek through my massive wall of incoherent rambling!
And a video showing it in motion.
And, two really bad shots random people took where my dumb face is extremely unfortunate here and here. :V;;
And also this which is a terrible borderline NSFW joke because I like making an ass of myself on the internet and my friends are horrible herp derp.
The outfit wasn't [and still isn't!] finished for those photos, and the helmet and shoulder pads were legit sloppily slap-dashed together in a few hours that morning, and the paint started chipping and I didn't have a chance to fix it, and EXCUSES, EXCUSES, etc, etc.
also oh god it's so unflattering and i look fat sob sob sob
And, well, to start my massive and pointless tale on the construction of this thing, imagine it's the start of March, and it comes to my attention that David Warner will be attending his first ever stateside convention...
And I absolutely adore David Warner; he is my favorite actor from the horrific b-movie depths of my childhood and I will love him forever. And, I figure, what better way to convey my ultimate and undying 20 year-old fangirl love than with a really, really nerdy costume from a series that is infamous for incredulously bad cosplay?
the logic made sense after six months of minimal sleep and 70 hour work/school weeks okay
Anyway, I immediately contracted a local seamstress [which I won't go into much detail about because it will make this already tl;dr post dangerously close to collapsing in on itself and into a black hole of angst and wo- I mean. Lots and lots of text.] and after 9001 hoops, I received the commissioned pieces about two weeks from the convention date.
When I had commissioned them in April and paid $500 in labor, and bought all the supplies myself outside of that 500 dollars.
o k a y
"This is some straight-up User bull****."
So here I am sporting the outfit in its bare-bones stages. I was very hot [it was something like 105 outside and 115 in my house, with soul-crushing humidity] and very unhappy because nothing fits right and risgdhgsdfhghdfg. Also, I had just gotten my hair cut [dillinger hair awesome yeaahhh!] and my hair dresser got distracted and left me with a large bald spot on the left side of my head.I was not having a good day.
The hood is also the wrong pattern but WHATEVER.
And for the record, the unitard is a white Bal-Togs, and the arm/leg warmers and etc are just a run of the mill cotton-lycra blend [95/5 for the unitard, 97/3 for everything else, I think?] to keep it matte and stave off the spandex shine - and also so it can take dye like the best of 'em. I can't give the specs for the the vinyl, regretfully, as it was acquired from parts unknown.
Well, outfit finally in hand, first thing I did was derp around with using masking tape to rough out where I wanted the circuits on the vinyl pieces.
And then I dyed all the cotton pieces using Dharma fiber reactive dyes.
This was my first time dying anything, and everything ended up really, really,really dark. I panicked, and took everything out of the fixer way too soon - so the dye didn't set properly in the most remote sense. If I wash it again, I am positive the dye is going to bleed out something fierce - but as it is now, it is an almost perfect match, so I guess I'll have to settle with being an extremely febreze-blasted Sark, or start laying on fancy colognes favored by the militant and omnicidal? Augh this is gross.
Oh and then at some point I drafted up Sark's helmet dealies out of lined paper and poster board. Oh man I am so pro.
SCREEN PRINTING WITH FOIL AND FOIL ADHESIVE.
WITH A BROKEN CLOTHING IRON.
AT LIKE 200 DEGREES UNDER THE SUGGESTED TRANSFER TEMPERATURE.
oh god it was hell and each line took me like 30 minutes to apply
And I had to do each line one by one, and the quality was radically varied inch to inch and it was absolute torture.
I drafted out every line on the cotton with masking tape, and used masking tape as the stencils to get them clean and crisp. I used three whole rolls of masking tape on drafting the circuits to this outfit, I believe?
I also made stencils on tracing paper for all the vinyl pieces, using my masking tape placement drafts as, well, rough placement guides - I then transferred them onto freezer paper, which ended up being completely moot and a complete waste of time because---
THEN, DISASTER STRUCK.
I had tested extensively on the vinyl to see if the screen printing stuff would work - it did! Better than on the cotton, even! But. My seamstress, god only knows why, had chosen to line the vinyl with the vinyl.
The fact that the vinyl was now super-vinyl screwed everything up beyond imagine, and it now got too hot and the heat didn't disperse evenly and etc, so the foil was completely unpredictable and uncontrollable, and would either eat the vinyl, completely adhere over all of the vinyl, or strip the vinyl off its fabric backing - along with not adhere clean and straight/turn into an unsightly blob when it did want to work 'properly'.
Note that, because I have a full-time job combined with how ill-timed and time-consuming all of this had been, I was doing all of this the last four days before the convention - with the bare-minimum amount of sleep to cram in as much work as humanly possible. Over these four days, I honest to god got ten hours of sleep, and the only food I ate was a turkey sandwich and a 2 liter bottle of cherry coke.
Tron, much more hardcore than Starcraft.
Anyway, the point I am trying to make was that I was over-the-moon delirious and had absolutely no time or sanity left to make the screen printing foil work on my vinyl.
SO, I STUCK STICKERS ALL OVER IT. Legit, every circuit on the vinyl is a sticker I painstakingly squeezed out of a meager 22''x10'' sheet I had bought for bedazzling up my props. They held up well enough over two days, thank god, but they're nowhere even remotely near lasting or permanent.
Anyway, I 'finished' at about 7am on the day I was to catch my plane to Las Vegas - the site of the convention. I didn't sleep for 48 hours, woooo. I didn't even get a chance to try anything on throughout all this, woooo!!
But oh man oh man, that moment of truth in my hotel room.
Which brings me to my props!
The bases props were made by the insurmountably fantastic Perfect Tommy Automail, who I absolutely cannot recommend enough. He is an absolute saint and sweetheart, and these props are completely beyond amazing. They're some sort of weird foam, and they're just. So perfect and great that I just can't.
And I went and bedazzled them.
This one [unfinished] gauntlet took me about five hours to deco, and I realized I just didn't have the time or emotional constitution to do that for all of them. So the other gauntlet - and the shoulder pieces, especially - were absolute 'I DON'T CARE ANYMORE OH GOD MAKE IT STOP I SEE RED LINES WHENEVER I CLOSE MY EYES' slapdash patchwork.
and then I sort of threw my helmet together in 20 minutes and it looked terrible and my theatrical makeup didn't work out so I just didn't wear it erm
and then i uh
sort of crashed david warner's panel and accidently insulted him when he was on stage
and then i wouldn't stop talking and made a complete ass of myself when i got a little 15 minute meet and greet with him
and i didn't even get a good photo with him in costume, either
how are you today
do you like my outfit, and do you have any suggestions as to how I might replace all the stickers I have gone and wrapped myself in?