I'd always wanted to be Jessica Rabbit, but I really, really hate sewing sequined or beaded fabric, I'm always impressed when people are willing to take it on. I had already done a costume designed by NoFlutter, so I was watching her artwork on Instagram and Facebook as she continued to produce beautiful images. When she started posting her progress on her Jessica Rabbit piece, I was instantly love. It still had that Jessica Rabbit attitude and vibe, but a dress that seemed so much more fun to make and in a style that I love. I also had several friends that same day I saw it text it to me asking "Have you seen this yet?" or "So when are you doing this?" The people closest to me also knew that it was only a matter of time.
I didn't give myself nearly enough time on this costume when I went to create it, a lesson I hope to eventually get to stick. I knew I wouldn't have time to make the corset for myself, even though I wanted to. That was definitely the first step, because I needed to get the corset to figure out the shades of red I was using to start building the rest of the costume. Once I found my red corset base, I was able to collect the various shades of red in different fabrics to add to the corset and make the skirt. I honestly think the most challenging part for me was making sure that the reds all looked good together. I'm lucky to live in Los Angeles, so I was able to go to several fabric and trim stores in the fashion district to get it all together. I built the skirt in just a few days, interpreting the folds and gathers of the artwork to my best estimation and set out to get the corset done. Even though I didn't build the corset, I think it ended up being more challenging than the skirt, it was definitely more time consuming with all the hand sewing it ended up needing.
Once I had most of the base sewn on the corset and skirt it was time for the beads and rhinestones. I think I went back to the same store to get more crystals 3 times within just a few days. The last time I was there the woman laughed and asked if I was sure I had enough this time. Once I had enough crystals, it was a lot of fun to place them on the corset and skirt in swirling patterns and adding that Jessica Rabbit signature sparkle. I still think about adding more each time I wear it, that character can really never have enough sparkle. I also decided at the last minute that my little Roger Rabbit needed some sparkle too, so he could match.
The wig was another adventure for me. The first time I wore the costume I didn't fully commit to the hair taking over my right eye and ended up being unsatisfied with the result. I re-did the wig over the summer with a lot of steam, teasing and hairspray and was able to achieve the look I wanted. I just had to sacrifice vision on my right side a little, I've definitely bumped into my friends on accident walking around with that wig on.
Jessica Rabbit is such a fun one for me to wear to a convention. It's really been well received, I think because the character holds a special place in a lot of people's hearts from growing up with that movie. And the beautiful take on the character that NoFlutter did makes people so excited. I've definitely learned a lot of people can do a pretty good Roger Rabbit voice impression, which always makes me smile. On a separate occasion I was standing on the convention floor outside the exhibit hall and I noticed out of the corner of my eye a little girl probably about 3 years old across the room in a princess dress looking at me. When I turned to her, she ran as fast as she could towards me. I crouched down and she slammed into a hug with me. I really love moments like that at a convention, there's something special about cosplay in that way. I absolutely adore talking to kids when I'm cosplaying and encouraging their imagination and creativity to grow. I remember being that kid at a convention when I was 12 or so, and the cosplayers that I was able to interact really left an impression on me, so I do my best to do the same.
Cosplay holds such a special place in my heart for so many reasons. It's been a wonderful creative outlet for me for years, and allowed me a freedom to experiment with ways to make things I wouldn't have otherwise thought of. It definitely played a major part in guiding me towards what has ended up being my career in making costumes. Cosplay is always keeping me learning and on my toes in regards to the art of making costumes, and the things I learn always cross over into my day job. The cosplay community is truly wonderful in the way everyone shares techniques and ideas to accomplish their costumes. On a more personal level it has helped me come out of my shell a lot. I'm a pretty reserved and shy person most of the time, and as a kid I had a lot of anxiety. I think through the making of the costumes of all the characters I admire over the years I've been able to build up my confidence and come out of my shell as a person in and out of costume. There's something pretty awesome about the cosplay world to be able to dress as a character you love and meet a whole group of people who feel the same, it opens the door to make new friends and have great experiences.