#BehindtheCosplay: VantaBlack Cosplay

So you’re sitting at home watching the days pass you by saying “Maybe I’ll start cosplaying the next day…” NO! Do it right now! Our new series is here to guide you in doing just that!

If you’ve ever wanted to venture into the wild world of Cosplay but never knew where to start, or if you were ever just curious on how in the world these cool creations are made, then welcome to your new heaven. ‘Cosplay Corner’ will be our new series focused on taking you behind the scenes of the cosplay world. We will be bringing you bi-weekly interviews from some of your favorite cosplayers, as well as helping you find new ones. They’ll be showing us the work in progress that goes into their cosplay with some amazing tutorials, videos, and photos to share!

As a cosplayer of 5 years myself, I know the struggle. You spend days, weeks, months on a project just for a few good photos and a good post. People always ask us “how, when, and where” when they see the finished result and being able to share our process is usually the most exciting part. If you’re interested in picking up some new crafting techniques, learning about what materials and tools your fave creators are using, or just interested in seeing some kick-ass before and after of some amazing cosplay, then definitely stay tuned as we begin our series with cosplayer VantaBlack and her process work on her latest cosplay Darla Dudley from Shazam below:

 

Why did you choose to go with Darla?

When I saw the Shazam movie, I resonated a lot with Darla. She was so adorable and just wanted to do everything to make her family happy. I knew how she felt, trying to be the “good little sister.”

Also, her big pigtails were a dead giveaway. I had these massive pig tails growing up. No really, I looked just like her and so I laughed during the entire movie because that was me.

What is the first step you do in your planning stages of the cosplay?
 
First, I try to draw out every detail of the cosplay. I think about colour/fabric, style, shape, etc. I have a large sketchbook with grid lines, so I use that to map everything out. Then I write a list of things that I need and things I need to do. So for Darla, I knew I needed the pattern, the shiny purple fabric, and the emblem.
Going in, what was the part you were worried about the most?

The bodysuit. I was definitely scared of making the bodysuit. I had to give myself a pep talk before making it haha! It was my first time making a bodysuit, so I was really anxious. I also did not know how to install a zipper, so shout out to TheBawbMobile for showing me!

What part of the crafting was actually the hardest?

I think the hardest part was sitting down and actually making it. I procrastinated for months. I was really anxious about this bodysuit; I didn’t want to look stupid. I’m also a perfectionist, so if anything looks slightly out of place, I will get frustrated. What I’ve learned is to use that frustration to fuel myself into being better. So that means going over a seam again, ironing, sewing straight, watching videos, everything

Did you use any new techniques during the making of Darla?

This was the first time I used a dress pattern. If I need to sew something, I usually use my other clothes to make a pseudo pattern. Using an actual dress pattern was easier, but annoying in some instances, because of my shape. Most patterns are a generic size, and my body has never been generic. Going in and knowing that, I had to make adjustments, so it would fit the way I would like. When you first open up a sewing pattern, it looks like a rosetta stone; just a bunch of hieroglyphics. It looks incredibly intimidating!! After looking up and translating everything, it becomes easier. 

Did you learn any new techniques that you will be applying next time?

Now that I know how to read a pattern, I buy patterns for different things I need. If it’s too complex for me to make the pattern myself.

When using rubber/contact cement, do a thin layer on either side of the things you’re sticking, let that get tacky, then add another thin layer of rubber cement. Then stick it together. It adheres better and it’s as strong as an ox. I learned that from EvilTedSmith!

Where did most of your crafting take place?

Most of the crafting was in my basement. I have two small tables in an L shape put together, with an overhead lamp, which makes things easier for seeing. You know those desk lamps that you get the first year of college? Yeah that’s mine. It has slots in the base where I keep my sewing chalk, pens, pencils, needles, threads and paintbrushes. I also have about 5 shoe boxes labeled with different things like thread, makeup, wigs, paint. When it’s labeled, you can find things easier!

On a scale of 1-5 how messy was the cleanup after each session?

Easy. I’m a “clean as you go” type person, so all of the scraps of fabric I would sweep and throw into a bag whenever I stopped or needed to switch the stitches. Also I lay down newspaper everywhere so when I’m done, bim bam boom, roll that up and toss it.

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About how many days or hours did everything take to finish?

Days, probably about 5 days in total.

Is there anything you would have done differently craft wise?

I think I would have made the bodysuit a little tighter, but besides that this is one of the cosplays I’m most proud of because I did it! I made a whole bodysuit! By myself! It seems like such a small thing but it’s such a big victory to me. A year ago I taught myself how to sew by watching YouTube videos. This year I’m making whole ass bodysuits! Who knows what I can do next year?

If you could describe your perfect working area what would it look like?
 
AHHH A GIANT TABLE. I would need a giant room with a huge table, so I can spread out all my fabric and patterns. An adjustable dress form that fits to my body and a serger would be nice too!
 
What is one tool you used during the making of Darla that you couldn’t have went without?

No honestly I needed to learn how to be patient and understand that everything takes time. I’m still relatively new at cosplaying, something I often forget. I keep comparing myself to other people who have been sewing or crafting for YEARS and expecting my work to be just as good. That’s not possible. Everything takes time, and every slipped stitch, every broken prop, is just another mistake that helps me become better. “Sucking at something is the first step at being awesome at something.”

Lol did you mean an actual, physical tool? I love my pinking shears. It was the first major sewing purchase I bought and it was the best thing. Instead of using regular sewing scissors to cut out fabric, I use my pinking shears. Pinking shears have a zig-zag teeth along the blade, so it stops the fabric from fraying. I thought “why buy a scissors and then have to worry about fraying edges, when I can just use these shears” Best. Idea. Ever. 

What are you working on next?

Currently working on Merida and Morticia. Merida I’m hella hype to do because I love big curly hair. Merida is one of my favourite Disney princesses because she is very independent. Morticia..well..she’s just a baddie 😀

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