Adventures with Vanessa VanCleef
Published on Feb 8, 2012
Vanessa, Vanessa VanCleef in progress and everything works fine so far! Last time I announced my next project and now some weeks later the costume is already done. It’s pretty nice but after some years of cosplay I’m able to say that I already know my skills very well and so my time schudele works great. The costume have to be done next week, but so far this should be no problem. Than this despite of I have to spent some time for parties in the next few days (it’s my birthday today, ha ha!).
Well, but now some progress:
I’m really glad that I started with my tabard pretty early and was so motivated that I was able to finish this part in only two days. Sewing it was just the HELL! The pattern looks maybe a bit weird, it was exactly was I tried to get. He he, and the funny part is, that the base of it’s pattern was the same as the one of my wedding dress!
Creating the design was really the hardest and most exhausting part. I drawed the basic shapes on paper and transfered it to fabric. So, everything you see is sewed on and got a zick zack border. It was really a lot of work and sewing the whole day only zick zack zick zack and zick zack makes you really crazy!
However as you can see, I made it. I guess, the only reason why I was so fast was just because I wanted to left this part behin me. Sewing all parts of the tabard and adding the yellow borders also took a pretty long time, but the final result was really worth it. I’m super satiesfied with it! (And if you’re curious how I created it exactly or just want to see more progress steps just visit my facebook page as always!)
I also experimented with the make up, since I’m a bit desperated. Because of Chinese New Year my wig was shipped too late and it’s not sure if I will get it in time. I still have an old, similar wig, but that’s just my emergency plan. My make up is also still in progress and I have to edit it a bit (I’m half blind on one eye so make up is pretty hard for me). I really need a dark, cool and sexy look, but the wig is more important at the moment. Actually I’m SO desperated that I visited my hairdresser to get Vanessa’s hair style. Yeah, I dyed and cut my hair for this costume and… my hairdresser failed…. So, wish me luck that my wig will arrive in time!
At least everything for my leather tooling was delivered in time. It’s pretty hard to all tools and materials, especially because they are so many and I had to import almost everything from the US. (You’ll find these shops on my Materials & Shops page) However working with leather is just awesome!
It’s a wonderful material, it’s easy to work with, you’re able to create a ton with it and after you got all your tools you just need to pay for leather, dye and finish.
Despite of like always you have to practise a bit. Especially leather is a material which you have to discover at first. Tandy’s tutorials are a great help in this point and I learned really a lot from them. My next project, Soridomi, will also start pretty soon and I already plan to use leather for this costume as well. So, look forward for more leather progress!
Well, but leather was not the only new material I used for Vanessa. In the past I was really not satiesfied with the durability and stability of my paper mache props. They often were pretty breakable and especially thin or spiky parts were damaged very fast. Because of this reason I searched for something new and tried pepakura at first. Long text, short story: I failed. Vanessa’s daggers were to complicated for my very first try to work with pepakura. I tried something else and since I’m pretty good in carving foam and just have a problem with paper mache I used the same basic steps as always. Creating a shape with the WoW Modelviewer, cutting out of card board, glueing all parts together, carving the final model out of expanding foam. And now comes the change: Using acrylic texture paste instead of painters tape + newspaper + paper mache. And: SUCCUSS! With a layer of resin I made the expanding foam pretty hard before and created the perfect layer for the texture paste. After everything dried I filled all holes and covered the whole foam with it, sanded, added a further layer of paste and sanded it again. It turned out to the texture paste became very solid and hard after it dried, was easy to sand and super lightweight. In addion I added a last layer of resin over the whole prop and will sand it and cover it with gesso to give a good basic for the paint today. So I just can recommend to try this great material. You should be able to find it in your craft or hobby store and it’s really an awesome replacement of paper mache!
In addion I also started with the pauldrons yesterday and fond something new out: Don’t use expanding foam in cold rooms. It’s just super cold in Germany and since I wanted to get rid of the gas of expanding foam I sprayed and let it harden in a cold storage room over night. The result was a very very hard expanding foam with a ton of huge holes and a very bad basic for the carving step. I was still able to work with it, but it was really, REALLY hard and annyoing. Also try to use your foam as soon as early since old cans will give you the same result. Hope this helps you to avoid some annyoing hours!
Well, so far of my progress today! Hope these little advices help you for your own project and wish you good luck and a lot of fun with all of them! I’ll keep on working now and prepare my birthday party! YEAH! :)

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  1. hi im also trying out the acrylic texture paste for the first time, I was wondering, how long did it take you to sand it, what grit did you use and did you use an electric sander.thank you so much for posting your wonderful tutorials CX

  2. Rubbing olive oil on leather after you dye it seals and evens out the color.

  3. im glad to see you work with “real” materials for once, not just plastic :D
    unless its not real leather, then youre a cheater :P

    i just got my first sheet of wonderflex (having been working with stricly metal and leather forever) and plan to put it through its paces to see what i can do with it.

  4. Happy birthday!

  5. Happy Birthday und genieß deinen Tag! :D
    Ich bin schon so gespannt wie dein fertiges Vanessa-Outfit aussehen wird und drücke dir die Daumen, dass die Perücke rechtzeitig ankommt.
    Viel mehr wünsche ich dir aber eine super tolle Geburtstagsparty. ;-)

    Liebe Grüße


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