Category Archives: cosplay

DIY: Great Gatsby Era Dalek Dress


Image: Lisa Tate

Here’s a little Dalek dress costume that might fit in just as well as at an art deco Great Gatsby-esque Roarin’ Twenties party as it would at any Doctor Who fan event or comic con.

The Headpiece:

1. Find a dark brown or black knit cap at any accessory, clothes or craft store.

2. Sew on one large blue jewel button in front for the Dalek’s eye and tear-shaped clear baubles for the lights.

The Dress:

3. Find a simple, plain cotton tank dress in tan or light brown. Can’t find the right color, “tea dye” a white dress by letting is soak one or two nights in a container of tea (use a black tea, not green).

4. Sew 32 bronze, gold or copper-colored buttons evenly over the lower half of the dress for the Dalek’s globes. Space them evenly, four across and four high (16 each on front and back).

5. For the top half, (or Dalek’s “main chamber”), securely sew three ¾ inch black satin ribbons, parallel from each other, around the dress.  To get the look of a Dalek, gently cut two sets of slits the width of the ribbon on both the front and the back of the dress. Lace the ribbon through and make sure to sew these slits securely to prevent the ribbon from catching or the dress to tear more.

6. Add a ruffle around the skirt’s hem with a large satin or mesh ribbon (about four inches in width) for the Dalek’s bumper or “motive power system.”

The “Arm” Wands:

7. For a basic “sucker arm” make a cone out of black felt with a small hole in the center and place it at the end of a chopstick or dowel. Cover the chopstick with black ribbon or electric tape. Make it fancy or “wand-like” by adding ribbon, mesh or glitter.

8. For a basic “gun arm,” cover a dowel or chopstick with silver ribbon, and cut eight to 10 pieces of sturdy silver craft or floral wire about ¾ the length of the arm. Carefully use a glue gun to secure the ends around the chopstick, and carefully bend the wire out so it resembles a whisk or mixer beater (for a lazy method, either of these kitchen items can be used in lieu of making a gun). Secure the bottom ends of the wire around the dowel with glue gun, and cover both the top and bottom ends of the wires with more ribbon. Like the sucker arm, these can be embellished with ribbon, silver pipe cleaners, cheap rhinestone costume buttons or other items.

Now, wear it with pride. Extermination never looked so stylish and cute.

dress steps


Find That Prop!: Janye’s Cunning (and Controversial) Hat


A four part-look at the props of Firefly.

janeshatJayne Cobb, portrayed by Adam Baldwin, is one complicated guy. A tough-talking mercenary with a sensitive side, he has plenty of humor where he (seemingly) lacks in compassion.

Although he has little tolerance for those can’t or won’t keep step up the fight, it has also been indicated in the show he is man of quiet faith and love of family. This is where his assumed lack of compassion is a front, as his mercenary funds go home to help his mother care for a little sick girl named Mattie.

It is Cobb’s mother who made the infamous yellow and orange knit tuque complete with those attractive ear flaps and pom pom. Cobb loves not only the hat’s practicality, but the fact his mother made it for him. In his own words, this head topper is “pretty cunning, don’t you think.”

However, for the rest of the Serenity crew it is a source of friendly ridicule. The most famous line comes from Wash, who told Cobb: “A man walks down the street in that hat, people know he’s not afraid of anything.”

Cobb, of course, replied:
“Damn straight.”

Every Browncoat seems to want to be seen sporting this hat, or be seen with someone in it, including fans of all shapes, jaynesotherstuffsizes, ages and species, as well as a few celebrity fans. And why not? It really is an awesome hat.

This hat is the center of controversy, because after Fox released an “official” version of the hat a couple of years ago, created by Ripple Junction, they claimed intellectual rights on the hat stifled the creative efforts of many Firefly-loving crafters who had already been selling their own version of the item. This included hats from many popular artisan sites like Etsy.

On a good note, Baldwin, a strong supporter of the military, auctioned the original hat from the show. It sold for more than $4,700 to raise money for the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation, making Jayne a real-life “big damn hero.”

Where to find or (shhhh) even make one: FOX’s claim on the hat may rankle a few feathers, and for good reason, but at least they make it easy to find. The “officially licensed” hat, by Ripple Junction, is available through several dealers of pop culture related items including, ThinkGeek, and Entertainment Earth will be selling the hat as well starting this summer.

The ThinkGeek price for this cunning piece is around $25, but thanks to holiday and summer sales, it can be found cheaper on sale sometimes, and Amazon had the hat for $19.48, as well as a limited amount of cute little Christmas ornament versions for around $11. The forthcoming Entertainment Earth version will also be around $20.

othershatsThere are still “unofficial” out there, but not marked as actual Jayne’s hats. The sellers keep it legal by giving it other distinctions unofficial indicators including “Firefly-inspired” hats or “cunning” hats.

This ban on sales hasn’t also stopped Browncoat fiber artists from making their own hats for personal use, and when all that is needed is light orange, dark orange and yellow wool yarn, plus the ability to knit or crochet, there’s nothing stopping them. And knit they have, everything from Firefly-inspired hats, to scarves, cup cozies, cupcakes, jewelry and gloves, not to mention some very uncomfortable-looking bras.

What did this “outlaw” cast say about this hat ban? Well, they wanted to remain diplomatic to their bosses business decisions, while celebrating the freedom of expression and enterprise of the independent artist.

Captain Mal, Nathan Fillion, tweet to fans, was “I like to think there’s a little bit of Malcolm Reynolds in all of us…But especially me.”

And there certainly is could be a little Jayne on all of us in the form of a very bright hat.

Except for Baldwin, who tweeted to his fans on the importance of free enterprise said: “I don’t have a ‘Jayne’ hat. I have an Adam Baldwin hat.”

Find That Prop!: Kaylee’s Parasol


A four part-look at the props of Firefly.

kaylee's umbrella

The Prop: Kaylee’s Parasol.

Kaywinnet Lee “Kaylee” Frye, played by Jewel Staite, is the naturally gifted mechanic on the ship Serenity. Not only is she known for her exceptional know-how, but for her kindness and optimism.

The parasol is a typical Japanese paper umbrella, or Wagasa, adorned with a plain colorful swirl pattern, umbrellasand typifies the Asian influence of the world of Firefly.

Where to Find It:

There was at, and one time, an official licensed Kaylee parasol complete with a decorative carrying case, but these are extremely rare to find today, even on sites like eBay.

These best route is to make one with a plain white umbrella, and use orange, yellow and green acrylic or craft paint for the swirl. Plain umbrellas can be found on party and wedding supply stores and online sites like The Knot or Paper Lantern Store, some for as low as $10.

Don’t want to paint? Etsy artists have this market covered as well, with ready-to-purchase homemade Firefly-influenced parasols.

Even though Kaylee isn’t always seen with her parasol, it has become an inseparable part of her look from cosplay to fan art. For good reasons, it’s hard not to feel happy with a bright paper parasol in tow.


Find That Prop: The Twelfth Doctor’s Coats


For the next couple of weeks, I’m going to take an easy, laid-back trip through Time and Space during with some quick peeks at one or two costume props for each of The Doctor’s incarnations from Doctor Who.

12mainThe Twelfth Doctor: At A Glance

Find That Prop: The Eleventh Doctor’s Fez and Bow Tie


For the next couple of weeks, I’m going to take an easy, laid-back trip through Time and Space during with some quick peeks at one or two costume props for each of The Doctor’s incarnations from Doctor Who.

elevenmainThe Eleventh Doctor: At A Glance