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Here's where the magic happens. I'll be posting about all of my experiences and experiments (both failed and successful ones), introducing you to my costumes, sharing fun stories, linking tutorials and useful products, and who knows what else!

 

We were once much more powerful

Michael MacWolff

So it's Thursday again and I feel like there's been enough Fire Emblem stuff thrown at you guys to back off of that for a while (since I could keep going for a very long time on that track), so this week I wanted to introduce you all to a costume that's just recently become relevant again (kinda). It's a game that I played religiously after it was released, all because it was just so darn pretty. I'm talking about Bungie's most recent endeavor, Destiny. I'm really not much of a FPS type gamer, mostly because I'm generally just pretty bad at shooting things and therefore don't have much fun playing them... of course the exception is playing Goldeneye on N64 with my dear friends because even though I die a lot it's hilarious. But this game was so aesthetically entrancing I couldn't help but try it, and was consequently hooked. They released the second expansion, House of Wolves, just last week so after an extended absence from the world of Destiny, I'm back at it with renewed fervor. And that is particularly because this new expansion is centered around the awoken in the Reef, and I have wanted to be the Queen's champion since they had the queen's emissary in the tower shortly after the game was released as a special event. I  mean, let's be real, she's a bamf for taking control of a fallen house and the awoken are pretty baller in general.

So anyway, that is where the renewed relevancy of this costume comes in, but only sorta, since we don't really see him too often any more now that these new expansions have come out. I'm speaking of the Speaker.

I wanted to do a Destiny cosplay pretty early on in my playing of the game, beacuase as stated earlier, the game is so darn pretty, and as such the character designs are too. The trouble is, I'm not that talented at doing armor, and since everyone is fighting out in space that's a big part of what any of the player characters are wearing. So the trick was to find something doable, but that still looked cool and was still recognizable. Thus I settled on the Speaker.

I started with the helmet/mask/his face as that was the only really tricky bit to my eye because I'm familiar enough with patterning and sewing that I figured I could make any of the cloth parts without too much trouble.

Thankfully, most of his helmet is actually relatively flat planes, so I decided the easiest way to construct it would be to make it out of foamcore board (this might have actually been the project that started my love for foamcore) for all of the flatter pieces, then I could use craft foam for the rounded part since you can heat it up to curve it out. Unfortunately, I don't have any photos of the progress on this one, but I totally made it too wide the first time and had to slice it down the middle and make it thinner (which you can see in the photo if you look close). In any case, here's how it turned out.

speaker-mask

The black sections on either side of the central panel are openings where I put some black knit material so I could actually see out of the mask, just not very well. If something was directly in front of me I'd have to turn my head to see it, but at least I could actually see!

So now that the mask was done, the hard part's over, right? I mean he just has a black hood and white robes, how hard could it be? Well I soon found out just how wrong I was... As I mentioned in my last post about Yarne, and how he has some lovely concept art that shows him from all his different sides and includes all of his details.... the same did not exist to the speaker so I had to go straight to the source. I went in-game with my Warlock and sat on the floor next to the Speaker and wandered around him, standing still long enough for him to turn back around so I could see the back and the sides of his robes. Thankfully he's an NPC who always shows up in the same place and is easily observable. This is the result of my research:

speaker-screenshot-front
speaker-screenshot-right
You can actually see the back of my warlock in this one...

You can actually see the back of my warlock in this one...

There were a lot more layers and a lot of extra details in those robes than I was prepared for. But me, being the devilishly detailed person I am, wanted to make sure I included as much of it as possible.

One of the most brain-wracking parts of figuring out his robes was deciding what materials to use for them. His outer robes have a nice texture so I wanted to do my best to find something that mimicked that. I initially had intentions of actually quilting it together, but I realized that would be way more time-consuming than practical, and wouldn't really give me the texture I wanted unless the quilting lines were tight together (adding to the insanely long process that quilting the fabric together would be). So instead, I found a nicely textured linen and used that. It actually worked out quite well because most of his robes are not a pure white, with the exception of the panel that hangs down from his waist. That made it simple to use a white satin for the panel and the almost-white linen for the rest.

Patterning out the robes wasn't all that difficult, once I sketched out how many layers were needed and how they all sat together. Building up from the bottom, there's (1) the lowest robe which covers his feet (I decided to simplify things and turn that into a skirt to eliminate excess layers up top), (2) the panel that hangs in front of his legs (I made this a separate piece that pins onto the bottom robe/skirt), (3) the robe which covers his torso and angles down in the back, (4) the belt, (5) the half-robe which angles across his torso from his left shoulder down to his right him, and (6) the hood. I'm not including his little pauldron things cause those aren't made of cloth.

speaker-costume-breakdown

The skirt part was easy enough to make, and I put elastic in the waistband to hold it up. The panel was a bit trickier because of all the detail on it. The repeating crosswork pattern was embroidered on my sewing machine with a tan-ish colored thread so it was a bit more subtle. The only trouble was that the satin would sometimes catch and so the satin-y quality was a little messed up in the end. Ultimately it turned out pretty well though, and worked the way I wanted it to. The raised edge around the design was done by sewing around a rope to give it the depth it needed. In retrospect I should have hand-sewed that part on so it would have looked better when it was done.

The next layer was the part that included the sleeves... so naturally it was a bit of a pain cause that's just how sleeves are. I used a slightly darker thread this time for the detailed stitches on the arms, and actually appliqued on fleece for the little uber-triforce designs on the sides. The white patches on the ends were also the bright white satin I used for the front panel. I went for simplicity on the closures, and just used white velcro to keep the robe shut. It was actually a good move too, because I could add small patches in a few places to keep the robe sitting in the proper place while I was wearing it.

speaker-sleeve
speaker-robe-3

 The next part was the belt. It's really just a tan strip of fabric with white craft foam pieces hot-glued to it. My intention was to use white vinyl for the details but when I tried to sew them on they stretched oddly and got all warped so I just threw out my first attempt. I think if I were to try that again I'd have to get a walking foot for my machine to keep that from happening. Regardless, the craft foam worked just fine. Also, I didn't actually include any kind of clasps, velcro, or anything for the belt, it's just held on with safety pins. That's mostly so if my girth fluctuates at all it can still accommodate that and because it sits a little strangely on my hips so it's easiest if I can just pin it where it needs to go.

Then we have the top robe. This one was pretty simple because there wasn't much to it in terms of patterning. I used a thin satin ribbon for the cross pattern on the front (which was a big enough pain in my ass that I didn't bother adding it to the back) and black bias tape for the dark outline. My favorite part is that the way it attaches on my left shoulder is with a suspender clip since I just happened to have one in my sewing desk :-)

speaker-robe-5

The only thing left is the hood, which it's just a hood so it's not that exciting. The only bit that was kinda annoying was adding the part that draped over my shoulders but it wasn't that big of a deal. 

speaker-hood

Put it all together and you almost get the speaker! There's just a few other details I haven't taled about yet. The first is his little Destiny emblem on his hood, which I made into a pin so I could use it to keep the hood part closed and could easily remove it.

We also have his little... nodes of some sort on the front of his robes. Those were constructed using compressed paperboard for the flat base, cardboard straws with polymer clay on either end for the little antenna-parts. I glued some felt on the back of each one so I could sew them to the robes.

The other thing are his shoulder pauldrons, which I used grey craft foam and an old vinyl placemat to put together. They attach to the robe parts with velcro as well. Here's how the whole thing looks all put together!

Oops, apparently I took my gloves off for this one

Oops, apparently I took my gloves off for this one

My plan was originally to debut this one at Ohayocon last year, but I sadly became violently ill that weekend and never made it down. So instead I wore it for a little while at Cleveland Concoction this past spring. It was pretty awesome because the fan table my groups was stationed at was on  a second story walkway that looked down on main lobby below so we got some awesome photos and I got to stand looming over everyone down below.

Behold my great kingdom! Of bellhop carts...

Behold my great kingdom! Of bellhop carts...

The best part was since I had the mask people assumed I couldn't see them and I totally caught a guy snap a picture of me on his phone and text it to someone. It should be noted that this was at the airport hotel in Cleveland  so there were lots of people around who weren't there for the convention. 

We also decided that the Speaker needed a vacation, and so took some photos by the pool. The results were glorious!

For as much work as went into this costume, he's gotten very little con time, so my intention is to take him to a few more before he goes into my regular rotation. He may go with me to Youmacon in Detroit and I'm definitely taking him to Ohayocon next year, assuming I don't come down with the plague again next year. Thankfully that'll give me enough time to add some side panels to the skirt/bottom robe so I can walk a little easier next time. I may also do some detail painting on his mask and pauldrons to highlight the shapes like I've been doing with a lot of my props recently. We'll see how far I get with that, but you can definitely expect more photos coming in a few months (it's too darn hot to wear him again before fall gets here).

Well, that's all folks, thanks for stopping in! <3