My Costume & Workroom rebuilds- or how to hand sew and fibreglass in the same space!


Sr Member
Reference threads:
Amazon reference images, Wonder Woman 2017 (includes Diana)

Current WIPS already on the RPF:

Once upon a time I tried to keep contained in one thread, but that is a bit silly.

Shae Vizla, Bounty Hunter Star Wars (Complete, remake for in game version on hold)

Shaak Ti, the Force Unleashed (and generic Togruta) (Complete, redo on hold)

Female Turians, Nyreen and custom also as the 2013 Halloween entry

Fem Shep: Blood Dragon armour (complete, in maintenance mode)

Phantom of the Opera Elissa gown (And Hannibal Slave girl, and dressing gown)

Elsa ice gown (Complete, sequin saga continues)

Maleficent, all the gowns and appliances! (remake in progress)

Fulcrum, from Star Wars Rebels (In progress, slow)

Draenei (slightly on hold, but it is a project that uses stash

Marie Antoinette 1938 silver gown

I don't do resolutions but I have started to take a serious look at what I am doing and why and have been for the last few months :) Health issues and the potential for next year to either be the worst or the best in several years in terms of physical functionality has meant I am taking charge of the total pile of poodoo that my workspace and costume storage has become!

I have lost count of how many costumes I have actually made, and to be honest I try not to think about it too much as many have gone on to new homes (most of my Star Wars and SCA garb) and several others have wound up trashed (yay house fire and soot and water damage and cleaners who practically boiled everything in a single wash!) But it is well over 100, quite possibly closer to 200. And all for me with a handful of double casts/theatre projects on the side.

But I have been obsessed with costume since 1988 and pretty much spent my teens and University years in any library available and read/photocopied the heck out of every 391, 792 and 646 book possible even before starting to make things. These are History of fashion, theatre costume and dressmaking in that order. There are other craft books near the 646s and varying movie and theatre books in the 792 section. And then once I started getting into SCA I kind of just spent days at the Fine Arts library of my university ;) The whole library from one end to the other.

So this thread is going to be dipping in to my very earliest projects (including my very first costume ever!!!!!) as well as a few of my latest where I have either learnt new techniques or gained enough experience in some other to be able to do this whipping up of a costume in a few days vs months and years ;) It's not often you get to see the background workings even in a WIP thread :)

I've also rearranged my workspace so many times, but I have finally got a space I can sew and sculpt and cast in as well as store my stash. I am only slightly overflowing my stash and in progress storage area.

And finally I'm also updating some tools, and fixing others. So I'm going to try and grab some progress photos of that. Tool maintenance is a big deal especially when working with dust (produced not only by sanding but also from overlocking/serging!)

Tomorrow I start documenting everything (a vlog even maybe?) so tonight I shall start a list. All my unfinished projects including possibly start dates and why I didn't finish!
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Sr Member
Re: mdb's 2014 Costume and Workroom rebuild projects!

Workroom rebuild:
Well, this has happened all year already but I am about to set up a reasonable photography corner (I hope!) temporarily using some rayon crepe. Right now the card hides my horrible grey walls (grey! So depressing) but the floor and beading is still jarring.

Photo area set up. DSLR got! Need a remote and a backdrop :) And lights. And curtains to control lighting a bit better..... and well it could keep going on ;)

Costume project pile:
Oh dear.....

The Big Stuff:
Darth Talon- 2012 started.
Lekku replaced once will need to do so again due to health issues. Redoing bikini in real leather, rebuilding saber (love mine but Jan signed it so I don't want to ruin it!), finishing tattoo templates in photoshop (it's 10 pages for the body but I want to also get good lekku templates sorted)

Shaak Ti/generic Togruta- 2010 started.
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I used s-foam 48 which is super pricey and super fiddly but very squishy and flexible. It moves well but I can't wear the movie version due to health issues (paint or lekku or full robes but not all at once!) Pretty much all new costume as well as a generic costume as I love all the togruta!

Shae Vizla- 2010 started.
Rebuild chest and back pieces and all new strapping. Make new boots as my feet are undersized and look ridiculous in this costume ;)

Femshep Blood Dragon- started 2013. While I have a costume that is complete to wear I do want to get the dragon on there and also attempt to install lights and add a few bits I omitted due to things Not Working That Way in real life (some panels in the back and shoulder area). I'll also add the details to the M98 as I filled them all in due to wanting a nicely finished prop vs rushing the details.
Also redo the turian adaptations for my custom female Turian, Neimhaille
Also make the tunic etc for Nyreen which started this whole turian malarky.

Silurian! Started the sculpt this year even made a freaking head cast, and bought platsil to make the facial appliances from (latex over foam for the back). Madame Vastra or generic, not sure, but I have a Victorian hunting outfit that would be absolutely somehting Vastra would wear ;)

Mina red dress- 2006 started well I bought the fabric then ;)
Redoing the bodice and finishing the corset I designed to wear under it.

Christine's Hannibal dancer and Elissa gown- started 1999.
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The dress of gaudy bling. It's truly amazingly gaudy. More petticots and more bling and I may be redoing the bodice decorations.

Elizabeth de Valois- started 2004. Decide between putting gold braided trim on or redo all the pearl knots. I have new pearls in graduated sizes to do this.

Silly Spanish Gown started 2006ish. I have nearly $1000 worth of fabric and trim and have had it cursed by my own problems as well as a cat who I love dearly but decided the dress should have a yellow mark right.. here.... I'm using period tailoring techniques including period correct rescuing techniques. (sorry, I killed my site and the best thing I could do was import from tumblr- and I need to fill in a lot of missing blog posts from August to now.) My Master work for SCA. At least of the bling variety. My wool Cleves/Cologne work is probably the most accomplished despite being plainer.

Worth Sunburst gown- started 2007ish. This will be my masterwork as far as Victorian gear goes. The Metropolitan museum has the colours I want but I'll be using glass pearls as per an in house copy at KCI.

"Quickie" projects for fun and to be less serioz bizniz
1881 spring dress- started 2004. Test drive for pleating the Mina gown. Recycled curtains for it all.
1876 day dress- started 2005. Sooty and stained from house fire. Being remade to be worn at my birthday picnic at Howick Historic Village.
Satine, Hindi Wedding- started 2004ish... finally found the perfect match for fabric but I saw the real deal and the embroidery is insane. I am allowed to share my embroidery chart but not photos so I will share them for anyone who wants to make a more accurate version. It's all hand done. I had thought some was done by machine as so much is.. but no. Entirely hand beaded, with stumpwork and lots of techniques I know but can no longer do due to wrist deformation.
Lucy lilac dress- started 2006 I think? To wear to my birthday picnic :) It's not a direct copy as the lace was a one off and full width for the original.
Cersei crimson gown- started 2013. Leather corset and all budget fabrics. Will need dyeing and embroidery- some cheaty moves in here ;) )
Wishing dress- started in 1994 for a 1995 singing contest. I drew designs for it all over my BioChem notes.
Polyester and rayon satin twill with cotton velvet robings. It is totally messed up with soot and one of the engagenets needs to be put back on. My first attempt at altering a pattern and second to last time using a commercial pattern.
Imperial Dancer outfit- started 2012. My Sith Inquisitor rocks this but in real life it looks a bit erm.. well with the yellow fishnet it's all very turkey legged. But it's nearly done, just need to redo the netting. Seriously, a case of the real world doesn't work like that mixed with unfortunate colours in real life.

Projects to finish and pass on to others, components or full pieces.

These are going in my facebook album of stuff to get rid of ;)
Eowyn Funeral gown- started 2004. Complete pattern redo, no printing but the basic dress will be ready to go
Padme Family gown
Codex corset and skirt- someone else can do all the ribbon stuff ;)

Mold restoration and repair/replacement:

Slave Leia- 2009 started.
I have also found my ideal resin/fibreglass balance so will possibly look in to casting from the molds again. But the molds are caulking silicone and while study they need reinforcement in places.

Turian and Asari mold casting:
These are ultracal and require vertical lay ups so I've been working on a good latex mix. Also these deperately all needed cleaning so photos of that whole process to come!

Pepper Potts rescue helmet. I goofed bad. This is a lesson in mold release. And how a project can be stalled for years due to this one moment of bad planning. But I am slowly resuing her after all. And might be able to make the rest of the armour to go with it.

And ummm it's almost midnight so I think that list is a good start. Ambitious for a year? yep! The Big Stuff is going to bleed over in to more years but I hope to get the small projects out of the way. Smaller projects are really important for several reasons:
1) You learn more by doing more. Smaller projects allow you to train and retain techniques for the bigger projects.
2) they can destress- you don't care if you don't do things perfectly so you can use them to keep reminding yourself about the fun side.
3) you can pass them on to others who may not have the time and patience to do them. And as practice pieces you can get rid of them at cost and not feel you are taking advantage of others or being taken advantage of ;)


Well-Known Member
Re: mdb's 2014 Costume and Workroom rebuild projects!

I'll definitely be watching this thread! I've always been a big fan of your work and owning one of your Shaak Ti headpieces I know just how good you are! Perhaps we can start a little buddy system to help each other keep on track throughout the year.


Sr Member
Re: mdb's 2014 Costume and Workroom rebuild projects!

Thank you Angela :) You are one of the most encouraging and supportive costumers online, even willing to Skype with someone on the other side of the earth ;)

A buddy system is amazing. Even when you aren't going to the same event (cries at probably not getting to D*C again :() it helps keep you motivated and even better to be able to give encouragement :)

This has inspired me to actually get some recordings of working with chemicals and tools to get a total beginner idea of what these things are like and what to expect. Like with a mouse sander.. your hand will be numb to the elbow.... I actually prefer hand sanding for this reason ;)

Anyway! First step is firts and that is to get my library of inspiration sorted. Both physical and digital. The digital is going to scare me as I have hundreds of manuals from the 16th to 20th century... Will try to get links on my site for that :) And post here because really mini pattern books are the cats pajamas for understanding modern patterns :)

See and now you've inspired me to fix my website again! I killed it with a tiny error. Sigh. Was playing with themes last night. No, right now it's my own pattersn, my design and my pattern print outs that need tidying and then somewho make room for them in my single shelf of books in the lounge. This does not include the 200L of books in the garage. Those are mainly art or defunct fashion books. But also my Girls Own Annual books.



Sr Member
Re: mdb's 2014 Costume and Workroom rebuild projects!

Stage one! Sort of done. Done at least enough to be happy ;)

I sorted my most used costume references and I also sorted my hand drawn/written costume notes in to one folder and my mini patterns in another. I still have to put all my full sized patterns in to large envelops to keep safe. So that is now in a laundry basket. Waiting.

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And while laying up more latex in to my togruta mold I got photos of my epic fail Pepper Potts Rescue helm:
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And videos of the lay up process as well as of why I failed with the helm. I am definitely going to salvage the helmet but I am debating on whether to make it in to the full costume or whether I should make it as a display piece :)


Sr Member
Re: mdb's 2014 Costume and Workroom rebuild projects!

Layup, explanation of the mix of latex and putting the two halves together. As examples of the messy not sexy processes going on ;)

Explaining what I did to the Rescue helmet and what I am going to do to get the last of the paster off.

And here is Resue in progress:
Head shaped ducttape form
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Sculpting progress. The ear buds are casts from inside my Butt Cup shapes in my Blood Dragon armour- best lids ever even if I destroyed the containers they are for ;) Hot plasticine will stick very well to that kind of plastic. But not epoxy!

The initial layer of resin and filler. This was too fragile which is why I filled it with fibreglass. I think I will in fact use this cast as a master to sand and bog and get details and work out openings on after all and then see about making a functional cast from that.
One of the big issues with maks and helmets for women is our proportionally large heads (compared to body size) so helmets and masks need to be very closely fitting indeed.
I managed this with Shae Vizla'z helmet and my Togrutan headsculpt and my Turian mask.

So tomorrow I shall fill a bucket and add lots of baking soda (yes just found a better tip about that).
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Well-Known Member
Re: mdb's 2014 Costume and Workroom rebuild projects!

Oooooo! Video! You're making me look low tech, Michaela!

I can't think of a better way to help people learn a new technique than to share in our mistakes so they don't also make them.


Sr Member
Re: mdb's 2014 Costume and Workroom rebuild projects!

And now y'all get to hear just how girly and poncy I really do sound! See, not at all Aussie! ;)

Sad to say I'm only using Windows Movie Maker to compress my files straight from the camera ;) No fancy pants editing ;)

And yeah, showing mistakes and, just as important, the actual messes to expect vs what not to expect ;) Just because it is messy or takes a few goes to get right doesn't mean it's a mistake. There are indeed some materials that just are temperamental.

Anyway, I'm about to dump a whole lot of baking soda in to a bucket and fill it with water and add my Pepper Potts helmet pieces in :) I am now determined, determined I tells ya(!) to get that freaking costume made :) I made a chest form I gave to a prop builder so I can get a pull from that, and hopefully I can grab a thin sheet of pvc to do the back. And then everything else can be made from a large piece of PVC pipe that has been scrap for about a year :) Getting video of heating and shaping hot plastic should be fun ;) Expect a lot of polite swearing.

I was thinking of doing a google hangout some time :) I'll have to have the netbook just outside my workroom (wifi dies within a foot of the ranch slider ;) )

BTW I'm having a bit of a hard lesson in XML while trying to collect all my online journals in to one journal on my site. Because while I have issues with WP if I back up properly then it actually is all good. So just learning about CDATA and elements and all that fun stuff ;)


Well-Known Member
Re: mdb's 2014 Costume and Workroom rebuild projects!

Let me know when you're ready to do a Google Hangout ahead of time if you can and we'll put it up on Pulse to get the word out!


Sr Member
Re: mdb's 2014 Costume and Workroom rebuild projects!

I will! Would be fun :)

These videos are a little unreal. Most of the work has been done so far in advance that yes I was just taking videos of how they looked :)

Baking soda works! Had I been more enthusiastic I'd have hunted down pH and other properties to realise a basic solution would work... I have to admit to squeeing the the nods towards Rescue in the two Ironman sequels. Just enough to make me hopehopehope next time.... I loved that intro arc actually. So it's probably identifying a little- realising the elements of hypocrisy within the Ironman universe but still being determined to do no direct harm. Also I have started working with Pearlex duotones and interference pigments and I really want to do a blood orange (orange metallic suspended in clear red) and I know I can do it just not sure I'll really do a good clean job with the layers of paint. It's going to take a really smooth surface and a good hand at all the layers. So my tools and workspace and body safety gear all need to be in good and dust free nick.

The budget brand baking soda! And a look at the togruta molds. The driveway really was hot. I wish I'd been able to shift the container on to the driveway but it's well set in the grass!

Guess where latex goes when it slumps? Yes the lowest points, in this case the horns.

And some rambling while working latex off my hands ;) Same as I have written but you kind of get a better idea of the mess and clean up in real time :)
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Sr Member
Re: mdb's 2014 Costume and Workroom rebuild projects!

The headpiece is still in the mold. I have a couple of very nasty relapses of pain in my foot (it actually feels broken, I know it's not but even so it feels it) and back. ANd hands so there has not been any progress.

Well some.

The duckies in the video have had two eggs, and nested on neither. I have a feeling she'll do this with her full clutch :(

The baking soda works! really really really well! in fact to the point I can use a gentle scrubbing brush to remove the last of it and also dremel the strands off :) I have learnt so much since I first mad this cast which is very very thick in places that I will in fact use this as a master so I'll tape it together and back fill with foam (and a tube) so that I can put this on a wig stand and sand and fill and shape. And work out where to put in all the fastening. I have rare earth magnets but I don't think they are strong enough to not only hold a face plate on but possibly also the underside as it is supposed to fit so close.


Sr Member
Re: mdb's 2014 Costume and Workroom rebuild projects!

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I was able to use a handy filleting knife that I usually use to sculpt with (I have sculpting tools but I usually come back to a few I have made or made over (carved silicon paint tools, a loop of steel to shave of super fine layers and this little knife) to remove the last of the clay as well as shave off the lumps from casting mold bubbles.

Now I am going to have a wee bitty of wine* because I am tired. Also I want some pink bounty hunter gear on my SWTOR toon and need to credit farm to afford the gear (I have pink/purple and purple/pink dye modules. mwahahahahah).

Pepper Potts as Rescue!!! | The Plain Jane Costume Chronicles

*I'm only second gen. Scots on my paternal side but even worse I grew up in Dunedin the not-really-scottish city in the south island of NZ. Lots of affectations here, including a burred r.

Alpha Proto

Sr Member
Re: mdb's 2014 Costume and Workroom rebuild projects!

I am enjoying this thread so much I am going to subscribe to your youtube channel!


Sr Member
Re: mdb's 2014 Costume and Workroom rebuild projects!

Woo! Thank you and never fear they will always be low budget ;) I'm going to get in to the big safety sack and splish splash resin to support the two halves so have just had a loading dose of antihistamines.. soooo three hours from now :) Which is just enough time for my camera to recharge as I keep draining it left connected to my computer.

It will still be light so I may see if I can google hang out at the same time. Right I'll need to do this on a different computer so I'll set my alarm to 3.30 my time to be ready three hours from now :)


Sr Member
Re: mdb's 2014 Costume and Workroom rebuild projects!

I wasted some resin! Silly me poured it in to thirds in paper cups and whooosh! Fast reaction! But Rescue is now one piece again and I have a thick layer of resin and matting on my future bald cap maker :) They are getting super pricey here so it makes sense to invest a bit of time and money on the piece.

No video because.. resin, gloves and I am not ruining another camera! Also said fast set up and not being able to really record with 20mins left on the flash card. Once things are settled out there I'll get some photos :)


Sr Member
Re: mdb's 2014 Costume and Workroom rebuild projects!

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The aftermath. I tried to get video during but it took so long the resin went off too quickly and I wound up in quite a mess. It's messy stuff but this was just a bit too much mess to record ;)

But I should be able to vlog today about what happened and I can show what is okay and what is terribly wrong. And I can hopefully also back fill with urethane foam.

Waiting for the antihistamines to kick in before clean up out there too.

Also virtual cookies for guessing the projects in the back ground ;)


Sr Member
Re: mdb's 2014 Costume and Workroom rebuild projects!

I have more silicone! And matting and a can of urethane that will work! the nozzle end is much better designed so I took a gamble :)

I've also been working on my dress of gaudy bling. Just taking a short break as I am super tired and kind of been on a swtor kick again with my bounty hunter. Who is turning into as much of a clothes horse as my inquisitor. SO I'll be updating this thread later as well as the individual threads that I do already have up on here for the projects that are my main focus for the next year :)


Sr Member
Re: mdb's 2014 Costume and Workroom rebuild projects!

Handsewing galore!
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And getting a full set of RD16A havoc gear in SWTOR!
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Basically more pale purple than my Electrum Onslaught gear :)
And yes, I am making this :) I made a flight suit ages ago as a test for another project so that will work very nicely- and I have extra for matching gloves and balaclava. My Shae Vizla mold restoration is in part to be able to do this as well :)

Shae Vizla helment mold got one more tube of caulking added and I'll be adding more tomorrow. Then making new keys to make a much better jacket. I'm much neater at mold making now and there is no pressure to get this actually done which means I can make a nice set of molds :)
I did get video of me working the caulking the first time so I'll try and convertand upload that tomorrow as well.

Currently waiting for my infusions to start to work and also trying to reduce my intake of antinflammatories which is not going quite so well. Luckily the silicone is easy to work with :) But I am still very allergic to epoxy so will need to have a visit with my GP to discuss this and other apparently new skin allergies!


Sr Member
Re: mdb's 2014 Costume and Workroom rebuild projects!

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Workroom photo! And three mannequins up and sturdy finally! And you may be able to see why I urgently need to get the shop mannequin cut down... She's about 6' tall if you could imagine a head on top...

The room is now finally able to be used for making molds tomorrow :) I do seem to have misplaced my tripod though... Found it. Right next to me. Of course.

I have all my fabrics and fabric based costumes in the top left corner, the photo area to the top right. Splash zone front right and mold storage front left. Then the tools and supplies are middle left.

The two pink wheelie bins under the desk at top left are full of projects to pass on. So they are the first to be tackled. The white wardrobe has my totally properly historic costumes in a 100L bin on the bottom and my recreation type costumes hanging up.

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