ZOMG you guys, my first cosplay was a success. A glorious, beautiful, obscure, magical success. I was so excited about the positive reaction from fans that I was grinning like a Cheshire cat all day. I would like to say a big, heartfelt “THANK YOU” to all the fans that asked for pictures, or took ones on the fly because we were too far apart.
I think the idea struck me at some point during WonderCon in Anaheim earlier this year. (Side note: I really, really wish WonderCon happened in Anaheim all the time, but I might have to start venturing north for it. WonderCon = AwesomeCon). Wandering the exhibition floor is like navigating a veritable sea of Jayne hats (and Fin/Fiona hats…but…that’s another conversation for another time), and of course people in gorgeous, many times homemade/sewn, full-on costumes. It’s breath-taking, really.
I’m a pretty good knitter (and crocheter!), and my seamstress skills are…passable at best. I also have this pesky perfectionism streak. I didn’t want to think of a costume outside of my skill set, then try to “make it work” and end up with something disappointing. It would have broken my heart. So, using the WonderCon experience as inspiration, I started racking my brain for fun, out of the box ideas. There are always a million super heroes, anime characters, cartoon characters, etc. I didn’t want to be the same as everybody else, but I also wanted to do something I loved. Being able to put love and passion into something makes all crafting endeavors that much better. And then it finally hit me. Jayne’s hat! It’s iconic, it’s awesome, and only a certain set of fans (Firefly) will get the reference. But it wasn’t enough. Just a hat? That’s entirely too simple, and would only take me a couple of hours to throw together. I wanted something more complicated. I had never made a knit dress before, but it seemed easy enough in theory. I looked at the hat and I just saw it morph into a dress. I wasn’t sure how I was going to pull off the neckline, but I KNEW I wanted it to be knee-length or shorter, because you can’t have Jayne’s hat without the earflaps.
That was it. As soon as the idea hit my synapses, I had to do it. I took out the sketchbook and started playing with ideas and came up with the shape it ended up being. I knew I needed a cotton blend yarn because I was going to be wearing it in San Diego in mid-July, and the more natural fiber the better. Wool was out of the question. I checked Knit Picks because I love them and they have lots of awesome yummy yarn to play with. I ended up choosing their Shine Worsted yarn because I wanted the natural fibers, and the thickness so I could use larger needles (and the price was pretty rad, too). All in all, it took me about a month to get it all together, but I wasn’t working on it 24/7. Taking my time with it was the best decision I could have made!
I kept my idea pretty quiet, as I didn’t want to have anyone steal my perfect idea (there may or may not have been moments of “my precious” while stroking my sketches). I know it sounds silly, but I WANTED TO BE FIRST, DANG NAB IT. Blowing people’s minds is so much fun. So I told a few close friends in person and my mom over the phone, but I kept it completely off the internet. When I finally broke out the costume at the Con, a few friends said things along the lines of, “I knew you told me you were going to turn a hat into a dress, and I didn’t see how that was possible, but you did it. Holy crap it is amazing and you totally pulled it off.” Friends are the best. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
THEN, OMG, THEN San Diego Comic-Con (which was about 4 months after WonderCon) announced the Firefly 10th anniversary reunion panel. COULD LIFE GET ANY MORE PERFECT. I had visions of wearing my amazing costume, having the cast or Joss Whedon see me in it, all the magical picture moments ensuing (I mean, can you imagine how amazing it would be if I had met Adam Baldwin?! All the magic). A girl can dream, right? My boyfriend and I showed up around 6am to get in line for Ballroom 20, and we got in! We’re not much for sprinting to the front if we’re in front of one of the screens, so I didn’t get anywhere close to seeing them. I’m way too nervous around video cameras/microphones to have gone up to ask a question at the panel. My brain would have shorted out and I probably would have waved hello then proceeded to pass out.
But I did prance around all day in my costume, taking pictures with tons of Browncoats and fans. It was an amazing, amazing experience. Firefly fans are some of the sweetest, most awesome people of all time. My day was filled with “OMG YOU’RE A HAT,” and from those more in the know, “OMG YOU’RE JUST THE HAT! JAYNE’S HAT.” I made my way to the California Browncoats booth, because how could I not?! It took them a couple seconds, but they TOTALLY freaked out, and I got my picture taken by them, and we all had awesome giggles and laughs and fan spaz time, and it was awesome. They even had the head from the statue of Jayne from the episode “Jaynestown.” What? Seriously? Could life have gotten any more fantastic? I kind of doubt it (except for, you know, meeting the cast and Joss).
In the end, it was kind of all a glorious blur. If any of y’all saw me and took some pictures, I would love to see them!
(c) 2012 Elsha Wolf. All rights reserved. Photos by David.
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