Saturday, September 20, 2008

How to make a Legolas costume out of nothing in two days

Kristina's assumption, that I'd had someone make me a Legolas outfit in the states and then was silly enough to bring it to the ice with me, simply isn't true. The getup that you saw me wearing in those photos I posted yesterday was all made by me, over the course of two days, from whatever I could find around the station. Which turned out to be an awful lot.

For some of it, I was able to use clothes that I already had. Some gray long underwear made good leggings, and one of those slippery undershirts from REI made a perfect undertunic shirt, even had that sort of silvery, shimmery appearance. A green bedsheet gave up it's life to be my cloak, and (although I actually wore my regular work boots in those photos) the removable liners from some cross-country ski boots made a good lower half for my Elvin boots.

The "jerkin", I guess it's called, the tunic thing that he wears, I had to make.

I started with a lab coat that I stole from the beakers, and removed the exterior sewn-on pockets, buttons, collar, and cut the sleeves off at about my bicep. I then died it first a pale green, but I wasn't too happy with the color (it was a bit too neon), and dyed it again with a brownish tan, ending with a really nice early clay color that's slightly darker then in the photo, and with a hit of green.

I then took it in by six inches just above the waist, to give that tapered, sleek look, and to generally make it fit me better and not be all billowy. I hemmed all the cut edges, and affixed a strip inside the middle seam with Velcro to hold it closed.

The "leather" shoulder covering was a bit harder. The material actually came from the cover from our old BBQ grill, it's not pleather, but it is vinyl with a slightly leathery texture and feel that actually worked damn well. It's a very dark brown, almost black. I made it in three pieces, one single large pieces goes across the back, over the shoulders and down the middle, and then the little bits over the arms are separate. It was VERY fiddly to make, and I had to enlist the help of Katherine, a girl on station who has almost the exactly same build as I do (skinny), as a fitting model. Once I got it mostly pinned in place, I put it on and had Webster do the final adjustments to that the material would actually lay flat, figuriing out where to take out some material and things. I then hemmed it, and sewed it to the lab coat. The silver decoration is paint marker.

The other stuff was made much the same way.

Those two oval things were my boot wraps; they wrap around my shins and affix to themselves with Velcro. The arm bracers sitting on top were the same deal, nothing fancy, just paint marker for the decoration. They were made from the same material as the jerkin top, cut from the old BBQ grill cover. The belts and strapping were made from some scraps of actual plether that I found in the Skua aisle, I think it was scraps left over from fixing or making the hot tub cover. I just cut some strips off, hemmed the edges, and threw a buckle on it. I actually DID make a quiver, out of a mailing tube wrapped in the brown pleather, but didn't end up using it, as the cloak just looked funny with it underneath.

As I mentioned before, when I first made this costume, for boots I used some ski boot liners with the wraps over them for my boots, which was fine walking around indoors. However, running around outside on ice like a fool, I figured I'd end up hurting myself, so in the pics yesterday, you can see that I'm just wearing my work boots, with the boot wraps over them.

It took a quite a bit of doing, and a lot of trying it on, seeing how it looked, making minor adjustments, trying it on again, etc, but it turned out really well. I actually made all this for a costume party we had a couple weeks ago. All this effort won me the prize for "Best Costume", as voted on by the whole station. The original prize was supposed to be a bottle of vodka (booze is sort of the default reward for winning just about anything here), but given that I don't drink, they had to come up with another prize. So I was presented with . . .

A Triceratops pinata!


I really have no idea how a dinosaur pinata appeared down here, but I've given up questioning things like that. I think we're breaking it open tonight (I'm told there is candy and little plastic dinosaurs inside!), in celebration of . . . uh, it being Saturday.

1 comment:

Katherine said...

That's amazingly detailed, I've seen costumes back here in Chicago that weren't as nice as that. I never would have guessed that it started life as a lab coat.