Well, I’ve finally got decent photos of my Liara T’soni costume and/or cosplay taken. It’s all there for you and the internets to see right here.
It’s been a fun journey. We’ve learned and grown, experienced both pain and happiness. Is this the end of Liara? Most likely. I can’t stand doing the makeup – I didn’t even do all the makeup for these photos (I just painted my face blue and I quickly tried to photoshop out the seams. I mean, really quickly). I have to thank my husband for all his patience and skills, for the times when he was applying liquid latex to my skin, to the times when he just smiles and agrees to take my silly little photos.
This costume, in ‘real life’ and online, has gotten a lot of puzzled looks. Some have sneered, others have ignored, and then there are those that laugh and smile. And that’s part of the reason why I do what I do.
…I don’t think that title makes sense, but I was trying to be funny. Punny? Yes, yes, thank you for the groans and sneers. While my Mass Effect costume wearing days are slim and few, every-so-often I keep getting emails about Liara’s ensemble, from the headpiece to the uniform. The latex mask headpiece thing tutorial is yours to use (and it works!) but recently I came across a *great* tutorial, that I would have killed for back in the day. Make sure to check it out. This guy’s work is stellar; he’s a pro. He actually IS a pro! He knows what he’s doing and livin’ by it!
As for the outfit Liara wears – I will explain, in this very lengthy very un-fun post, how I (with the mom-in-law) made my costume. I’m not sure how much sewing experience you have, and I don’t know much sewing terminology, but hopefully this wordy tutorial will help! I’ll say in advance that it helps to have someone helping you make something stretchy and fitted, for making adjustments, making marks when on the body, and it’s always good to have someone with sewing experience to ask for advice!
The best thing that you can do is to do get a big folder of references (get some screen captures of the game, go online for wallpapers or screen shots, check out youtube for video moments, etc) and note down the proportions and details. Sketch out the outfit, so you have an idea of what’s going where and what pieces you’ll need. Don’t feel bad if you can’t draw – these sketches aren’t for the world to see, they’re for your own reference!Look, I’ll even post my horrible sketches for you to laugh at.
See? You can’t get crappier than that. I even have a little shopping list written on the one! You don’t need to do sketches, (I didn’t bother sketching out shorts) I just think they’re a good idea. I think you can even find body templates online that you can download and draw clothing onto. I brought this with me when I went material shopping, and also some reference pictures. Hmm I never did get those sewing needles.
The clothing items that I actually made were the long top, the pants/shorts, and the little green gloves (that go over the black latex gloves), plus I modified some shoes.
I used 4-way stretch material for the top and shorts. I think the green (used for the top, shoes, and gloves) and grey (shorts and stripe) were a 4-way knit, and the white was…something like a 4-way knit. The white was a bit shear, so I had to end up doubling up the material. The black shiny material used for the detail had just a tiny bit of 2-way stretch in it – if you can, try to find a PVC like material that has a good amount of stretch to it, otherwise you might run into fitting problems. The black stuff I used was stretchy enough for me to wear without the black stretching and ripping, but I had to modify the collar – the outfit features two black stripes going down the front and back of the collar, so I had to Velcro those on, otherwise I couldn’t get the turtleneck over my head.
For each shoe, I sewed a long narrow tube, turned that inside out and hot-glued it around the top of the shoe. I tried sewing it on, but the needle wouldn’t go through the shoe material.
For the gloves, I read up on how to make gloves annnnnd decided that since this was a almost a fingerless costume glove, to do the simplest version possible without all the gussets. I just traced my hand onto some craft paper, drew on seam allowance, and use that as a pattern. I cut the pattern out of the green material and, after free-handing a pattern based on the black and white parts of the glove, sewed on the shiny black ‘wave’ glove pieces, and the white ‘0.’
For the shorts, you can use a bike-short pattern. I couldn’t find one – so I ended up using a swim-short pattern. I measured the circumference of my leg just above the knee and the length from my knee to hip. After measuring the length of the given pattern, I extended the pattern piece to go just above my knee. A bike short pattern would work best (it would likely be the right length too) but since none was to be had, I used McCall’s pattern #3566.
For the shirt, I used Burda 7742 – but any pattern for a stretch turtleneck will do. Or if you can find a pattern for a mid-thigh length stretchy turtleneck dress, even better (you’ll end up skipping a step or so). I wish I had illustrations to help explain what I’ll say next – buuuut I’m too busy to make a comic tutorial. Liara’s outfit is divided into white and green pieces (with black details). I first extended the pattern so the bottom of the shirt came to just beyond my mid thigh. I then drew, right onto the pattern, the outline of the different sections of white and green. I traced the white pieces onto another sheet of paper, and then drew seam allowance onto both patterns. I then cut out the white pieces with their seam allowance, and the green pieces with their seam allowance. I then sewed pieces together that would help make one piece ‘whole’ before starting to sew the actual top (ie. sewed some green to white in order to make a Front piece, sewed some green to white to make one half of a Sleeve, then when you have the Front, Back and Sleeve Pieces completed, then you can start sewing the top as indicated in the Burda instructions). I sewed the black shiny detail pieces onto the top after I had sewn everything together, but I think it would be better to do this before sewing the sleeves to the front and back (with the exception of the black detail needed to go over the grey stripe and the bottom edges, that should be sewn on later).
After sewing the top together, try it on, and you should have a fitted short dress. Making sure it fits right, you can then either draw (with chalk, or if you’re brave, a marker) onto the dress itself, or draw a pattern, of the upside-down ‘U’s that needed to be cut out of the front and back. I did this after I tried the dress on, instead of just cutting out the U at the start, because I wanted to make sure the top would fit me correctly, and I wanted to see how the dress would hang so I would know where to put the ‘U.’ After making my final decision on where the upside-down ‘U’s would go, I cut ’em out, and hemmed the bottom. I then appliqued on a grey stripe, and sewed the black stripes on (I was able to use the white and green pattern pieces to make these).
And…voila! Liara T’soni (Mass Effect 1) outfit! Sorta explained in a long lengthy boring way! Remember, the most important things you need for making a costume…is time and patience. And yes, I have started preparations for Halloween this year.
To get thin edges for a headpiece, use a makeup sponge or a paintbrush to paint the edges around your ultracal cast. Paint one thin layer all along where your edge would be (wear the headpiece would be touching your skin). Let this layer dry BUT not set (so no more than 7 minutes) and repeat this process a few more times. You want the edges to be thin, but not so thin that it rips. You can see in this photo that there are tiny rips in one section, but I still had to trim this piece to fit my head, so it’s all good. Then after your final layer has dried (but not ‘set’) pour the latex into the rest of the mold and follow the same process as before. This time I only waited 20 minutes until I poured the latex out (and when I poured it out, I used a sponge to ‘scrap’ off the excess from the back of the neck to help keep it thin). A shorter wait time meant that I had a thinner headpiece (which was so much lighter!). I would have experimented I think with the time before…but if you read my comic, you know that my latex stage was a wee bit rushed.
Try using a textured sponge for painting. Make sure you use a latex based paint, else you will get cracks! I mixed my paint to try to match my makeup colour and then after painting the headpiece with the paint, I dabbed some makeup along the edges of the headpiece. I did my best to blend the makeup in with the paint colour. Originally I would apply some makeup to my headpiece after putting it on, but I decided to do this ahead of time, to try to blend it in more. And then I will go about trying to match my makeup to the colour of the headpiece.
When and if you decide to wear your Asari headpiece/costume to, say, a convention, and you are travelling to a location and need to bring all of your Asari getup with you…please, please TRIPLE CHECK that you have everything. Nothing is worse than preparing to get all decked out like Liara and, after carefully packing your headpiece and taking up precious luggage space with your Asari shoes… and gloves and stockings and liquid latex and sponges and cotton balls and spirit gum and baby powder and latex sprat… after doing all this and arriving at your destination, nothing is worse than discovering that you do not have two crucial things; blue makeup and contacts. Woe was me who experienced this last weekend – I had planned to wear my Liara T’Soni outfit again, after making new and improved gloves and a headpiece, but it was not to be. I swear this costume is cursed, as every time I have tried to wear since the VGL concert, unfortunate circumstances have prevented me from doing so. But I WILL wear it, again, someday, for something, I hope, in the future. And finally get decent pictures.
(a big thumbs up to a guy out there at PAX who said he liked my Asari ‘gettup’ – I was caught in the rain on the last day of PAX and one of my bags were soaked through so I had my Asari head lying upside down on a plastic bag along with various other items, letting them dry out. It felt really awesome to have someone recognize what the headpiece was, even without it being right-side up or with me wearing it and the rest of the costume. PAX proved again to be awesome in every way!)
…it feels like I planted little Asari headpiece seeds in a garden and have just harvested the crop.
My my, don’t they look…pretty ugly, when they haven’t been cleaned or trimmed or painted or looking as if they were a crude sacrifice of rotting alien scalps torn from the dying heads of Asari…quite unpleasant indeed.
So, not including The First headpiece that was constructed, it took me three tries to get a satisfactory headpiece – one that is thin, light, strong and all in one piece (I had a wee bit of an accident with one headpiece as I became impatient and pulled the latex out of the mold before all the tentacles had completely dried). I am in the process of painting this final headpiece, which I’m still hemming and hawing about wearing to PAX. I think it will be the last time I wear this costume.
I’m not sure what to do with the other headpieces now. I will save them for the future and maybe paint them based on new (or returning?) characters in Mass Effect 2.
I know what you’re thinking. You want to make an Asari headpiece for a Mass Effect costume and you’ve read my mini comic tutorial. You made a couple of phone calls around town and gathered up the weird and wonderful supplies. But you can’t help but wonder if this tutorial actually works; is it possible for a fan of Mass Effect, using a guide made by another fan, to make an Asari latex headpiece, or was the result of my Liara latex endeavour just a fluke?
Ladies and Gents, I proudly present HMWSG X’s Asari latex headpiece!
Didn’t she do a fantastic job!? I did a wee bit of tweaking with the photo (as she rushed the headpiece application for the shot) but WOW. Talk about awesome. Look at all the photos here! AND she documented her process. Holy cow! And she even made a Tali’Zorah nar Rayya costume to boot!
So if you want to make a headpiece…it can be done! It has been done and it shall be done again! HMWSG X and I sent message back and forth, talking about supplies, art techniques and frustrations, so if YOU have any questions, any issues, hey, just ask! Drop me a line at kris[atsymbol]tatterhood.com. I’m not a professional, but I’ll be sure to answer your question personally.
And if you want to learn more about latex and prosthetic and all that jazz, check out The Effects Lab.
Right now I’m working on another headpiece (because those buckets of slush latex aren’t going to use themselves!) so soon, soon, I promise, I will post actual pictures of my Liara T’Soni costume. (But check out other MassEffectfans in costume in the meanwhile). I’m trying a few different techniques so might be adding a new page to the mini tutorial.
I just realized that I never took any photos of the actual headpiece itself so here is one final page to the Blue Girl collection. This realization happened when I woke up and discovered that people other than my Nana or a lone wandering lost soul had paid a visit to my site. To those who have come (mainly from the Mass Effect Forums) I am honoured by your visit and thank you for your comments and emails. I can only hope that you found the costume/comic informative, pleasing or inspiring. I wish I had taken better photos of the full Liara ensemble; maybe one day I shall try to arrange a ”photo-shoot” and get some decent photos that are not taken when I am feeling and looking rather tired and grouchy (due to sitting down for 3 hours for makeup, 45min on the sky-train to the concert, 2 hours at the concert and 45 min back on the sky-train).
I am currently working on two other costume/mask projects that are not related to ME, but I am hoping to tackle one (or two!) more Mass Effect costume in the future. Tali’Zorah is the next costume in mind but an ultimate costume goal would be a completion of Wrex. I have Krogan ‘blueprints’ laid out, the only problem is that it would be expensive, and heavy. We shall see; I’m not sure why I make them because I don’t really attend that many conventions and I don’t really “cosplay” (I “just dress up”).
I’ll just have to hope that a costume designer position opens up for a production of Mass Effect: The Musical! Family fun for all with songs like ‘Even Earth Isn’t Safe’, ‘We Will Hold the Line’, ‘Basso Profondo: My Secret is Out’ and ‘Big Stupid Jellyfish,’ With Colm Wilkinson as Wrex performing his famous song ‘40,000 For a Whole Set.’