15 February 2014

Laura Roslin - Wig and Book of Pythia

 For those who follow me on Facebook, you know this cosplay has been done for at least a month already and that it debuted at Arisia 2014 to...well...one person recognizing me without significant hints.

At least I had this to help them make the connection:

For any still wondering, that's my rendition of the Book of Pythia.  I'll get to that later on.

This cosplay was (and still is) extremely important to me because of how Laura resonated with me.  She is not a complicated cosplay as cosplays go, but I wanted it to be as close to perfect as possible.

For her hair I wanted something realistic.  This meant two things: I needed a wig with a lace front AND skin top, leaving only one option: Arda's Arwen.  Expensive.

I love these wigs to bits.  It killed me to have to cut off that luxurious hair, but it had to be done.  At least I reused a lot of it in the form of extra wefts.

First step was to dye this wig a little darker.  Arda's Spanish brown was a little too dark and not red enough, while chocolate (which is what I purchased) was red enough but not dark enough.  To that end I mixed up some FW ink wig dye.

I went ahead and dyed all of the fiber in the wig using a spray bottle, and then combed it in to ensure even coverage.  The results were beautiful dark brown highlights that brought it down to a colour acceptably close to Laura's.  The thing about red hair is that you can never tell exactly what colour it is, so the closest you can come is an approximation.  I have always suspected that Mary McDonnell changed her hair colour throughout the series anyway, because it started out very dark, got much lighter red in the third season, then seemed darker again near the end (before she started wearing a wig).

I added in two extra wefts that I made using the hair that I trimmed off the bottom of the wig.  For the record, I hate sewing wefts.  In the future I will order them already made unless, like this time, it makes more sense to use leftover fiber--I ended up with hair EVERYWHERE.  Instant mess AND frustration.  One weft I added around the middle of the wig, and one near the bottom of the wig cap.  To  be perfectly honest, I did end up removing the mid-level weft later on because it just added too much volume.

Here's the wig after wefts and preliminary trimming:

The following are a series of process shots from the curling process, which, for some reason, I documented in excruciating detail.

The process here included putting a little pomade into the wig to emulate natural hair oils, steaming the wig into tight curls, letting the curls out, and then hitting them again with steam a little to relax them into Laura's gentle waves.

And the final result:

Later on I did decide to add more layering and bangs to reduce thickness at the shoulders.  The problem I encountered was too much pouf at the ends of the wig, which resulted in too much volume overall.  That's why I opted to remove one weft.

After all, the wig worked out wonderfully.  Most people were surprised when I told them I was wearing a wig.  That's why I love the Arwen to bits.  I hope Arda's new version of this wig works just as well...but I really liked having the skin part.  I don't know yet how I'll like this lace part business.

The rest of the cosplay, including the entire skirt suit and shirt, were made at home without a sewing machine.  Yes, indeed, I stitched the entire damn thing by hand.  I spent most of the time nursing blisters and cursing, so not many photos got taken.  I am sorry.  You'll just have to make do with the few photos I got at the con, and the rest will have to wait until I do a photoshoot!

Let's see...well, there were a few photos on my camera.

This was the collar for my shirt.  I intended for the shirt to have a sort of kimono closure, but I actually decided later on that the fabric had enough stretch that I could stitch the front of the shirt closed and pull it on over my head.  It's a really comfortable shirt, and pretty, I just wish I'd made it a lot longer so I could wear it over a skirt on a daily basis.

I knew this was going to be a bit of an obscure cosplay because there are no inherently recognizable costume elements.  To that end I decided the best option was to make the Book of Pythia, with the trademark Battlestar Galactica corners to get people's minds moving in the right direction.  I also have some Admiral Adama dog tags, but I forgot to wear them at the con.

I started out with matboard, cut into the right shape, then covered this with black leather cut from an XXL skirt I bought at a garage sale for repurposing.

To be certain, I had little idea what to write in my Book.  There is no complete text available, only small excerpts.  My mother suggested Nostradamus as inspiration, and I've put together some pretty good stuff, but I'd have to learn the kind of script they use in the book before getting started with the actual writing.  The centerfold is all that I've gotten finished so far: the map of Kobol.  Unfortunately I went about this thing using ink that was (unbeknownst to me) not waterproof.  Oops.  It bled everywhere when I used watercolours over it.  Then someone dripped water on it...oh, well, I guess it just looks like I went searching in the rain for the Tomb of Athena or something.

I'll deal with the text later on.  Or maybe never.  It's going to be a whole lot of work.

Until later, this photo is all I have (sorry):

While only one person recognized me, I did get a lot of compliments for my suit...which I made!  By hand!  I also have new glasses which would work perfectly for Laura, but I cannot layer them over my contacts...those were not something I wanted to take on and off.  Also, I did begin to wonder...how do some people wear high heels such as these on a daily basis?  They are not comfortable shoes.

01 February 2014

Laura Roslin Photo Gallery

I made this cosplay based on Laura Roslin from Battlestar Galactica.  The skirt suit and shirt are completely sewn by hand (like, seriously, without a machine because I was home without one for a little over a month).  Textile for the jacket and skirt is Italian wool that I got for a steal on Ebay, but it was absolutely perfect for Laura.

My shirt is made of a gauzy crinkle cotton in a light ivory colour.  I'll have better photos of that later, but it has an overlaid pleated collar just like the one Laura wore in the TV series.  Its tendency to wrinkle at the collar is intentional, as the shirt worn onscreen also tended to do this.

My wig is a lace front Arwen made by Arda Wigs, darkened a little with FW ink to a darker brown, and then cut and curled into Laura's wavy hairstyle.

The Book of Pythia is also handmade and decorated.

Also, I respect people who wear this kind of shoe on an everyday basis.  A day or two of wearing them on my feet and I am ready to never wear shoes ever again.

Blog entries about this cosplay are available: