Cosplay Mothra: Minimalist on a budget

feathers for antenna

If you’ve been following my humble blog, gentle reader, you know that I enjoy going to comic cons. I also have a cobbled together steampunk cosplay that I wear. You also know that I am a huge Godzilla fan. As a result of these things I have decided to try my hand at a Mothra cosplay.

There were several things I considered before deciding how to go about my cosplay. I didn’t want to go with a full face mask. That would be too hot and involve way too much construction. I also didn’t want to limit my visual field with a bulky mask. Wings are also a logistical nightmare at a con where there are hundreds if not thousands of people all together enjoying the geek-fest.

I sat in on a couple of cosplay panel discussions at the last couple of cons and got some really good pointers. Like thinking about how you’re going to sit in a car with your costume on, or how you are going to use the restroom. These are good things to keep in mind.

So with those constraints, along with a rather limited budget, I began trying to puzzle out how I could make this work. It occurred to me that I could go a minimalist route and possibly make something that would adhere to the spirit of Mothra and cosplay without being a full body suit topped with a huge heavy mask. Then it came to me: I could make a hat. Now I’ve never made a hat before but I know they have fascinator forms at craft and fabric stores where they sell bridal supplies. (Also I don’t know what delineates a hat from a fascinator so forgive me if I’m using incorrect terminology. This could be an elaborate fascinator for all I know.)

I looked at my Mothra figure and got some white faux fur, a scrap or two of black felt, two ostrich feathers and since I couldn’t find blue gems in the size and shape I wanted I bought two pendants that had plastic gems that were close.

Materials for Mothra fascinator/hat

Materials for Mothra fascinator/hat

I also had some royal purple scraps but they did not fit with the theme. I’ll save those for another project. This is what I started out with. I got two fascinator forms because neither was the size or shape I wanted. I hand stitched the two together and used a couple pieces of scrap fusable interfacing that I pulled off the back of the remnants of another project to complete the size and shape I wanted.

Two fascinator forms

Two fascinator forms

Over the top of what is now the superstructure for the headpiece I pinned a strip of black felt and two pieces of the white faux fur. To cut down on weight I hand stitched all of this together.

black felt & white faux fur

black felt & white faux fur

Now I could have gotten a bunch of ostrich feathers cheap on eBay but I only needed two. I had to balance my need to watch my budget with my limited space and against the likelihood of needing white ostrich feathers in the future. I spent a bit more than I needed to but I only got two ostrich feathers. These are very light weight and the perfect size and shape to make Mothra’s antenna. I used an exact-o knife to cut through the forms as well as cutting a slit in the fabric overlay so that I could hot glue the feathers into place. I stuck them just slightly through the fascinator superstructure and used liberal amounts of hot glue to hold them in place, both underneath and on top. Then I laid the fabric back over the top and stitched it down. The hat/fascinator is remarkably lightweight and well balanced since the antenna lay at just a bare 15 to 20 degree angle off the hat.

feathers for antenna

feathers for antenna

Next time I’ll get the plastic gems off the pendants and hot glued on the headpiece.

These will do just fine for eyes.

These will do just fine for eyes.

I have some ideas for how to make workable wings too, by workable I mean the kind you can wear to a comic con without requiring a lot of airspace. I’m using the term wings loosely here. I will keep you updated, gentle reader. K.

Cosplay Panel at The Rose City Comic Con

Cylon & Batmobile

RCCC Cosplayers

RCCC Cosplayers

Yes there was actually a “Cosplaying 101” panel at the Rose City Comic Con. As you know, gentle reader, I find the cosplay an equal draw to the Con as the celebrities who graciously attend. It makes me happy to see other people dress up as their favorite characters, it makes me happy to see people express themselves and have such an uplifting creative outlet. I, personally, feel that it is good and healthy for people to let their imaginations run free and to express themselves so beautifully. Stepping down from my soapbox, it is just a wonderful extra bit of joy that cosplayers bring to cons.

The other thing about cosplayers is that they are happy to talk about their creations, the characters that inspire them and the trials and tribulations of costume design and crafting. The Cosplay Panel at the RCCC was every bit as informative as you might expect. The best bit of advice was at once surprising and eminently practical: Plan for a way to use the restroom and always take into account the weight of the costume. It’s one of those things that gets forgotten in the frenzy of costume creation and yet is so important. It seems small but it is of vital importance.

Cylon & Batmobile

Cylon & Batmobile

They also suggested lurking about ebay to find the pieces to construct your costume. Often times you don’t need a full sheet of something and a scrap or bit from another crafty person will do. You can build some really nice costumes without spending a mint. In fact I’m planning on taking that advice for some of the pieces for the costume I would like to put together.

The biggest thing though is to not be afraid or intimidated. It’s the joy and love that you bring to the cosplay that really makes it, not the professional seamstressing. Not that professional seamstressing doesn’t show in a well made costume but that’s not the point of it. It’s just a nice bonus.