Jenny Flint...We're going to need the swords!

CosPlay can be quite intimidating, and it definitely was for me on my first go! When you think about it, there are now professional CosPlayers, professional makeup artists, and amateurs within the Comic Con audience.  This can be scary, but since I had a buddy coming with me -  I decided to dive right into CosPlay.  I want to provide you with some universal tips to help you achieve any CosPlay creation.  

1. Pick someone you can identify with and enjoy within (or outside) your fandom.

I chose Jenny Flint from Doctor Who.  Jenny, most commonly known as Madame Vastra's wife, is a standout sidekick that I could not wait to CosPlay.  She's this wonderful diametrical character who exhibits compassion, bravery, and loyalty.  She was first introduced as the maid of Vastra when she appeared on the show.  During this first glimpse at her, she was delighted when Vastra ordered, "Pack the cases, Jenny...And we're going to need the swords!"


A Note on Sidekick CosPlay:  You need to identify if your sidekick is identifiable without the main character.  For example, Robin is identifiable without Batman.  I felt Jenny was not recognizable without Vastra so this CosPlay is a "group" CosPlay.

2. Identify key aspects of their character appearance.

Use a Google search to find a still image of the character. Look for a costume that you believe identifies the character; I chose Jenny's battle outfit.  I thought in her victorian dress, she'd be even less identifiable (just in case me and my buddy got separated at Con).  This is where you get to be highly critical of the image...notice everything and take notes!  What makes your character unique?  What are some elements that never change (i.e. hair, era of clothing, etc)?

3. Identify any costume elements that you may already possess.  Remember, it does not have to be perfect. 

I always work off of the "CosPlay Only" Cost.  This means that I budget a character and calculate their final cost by what I had to buy that can only be used for CosPlay.  So for my budget, here's what I have:

High waisted tan pants: $15 at a thrift store (I bought two pair, each at about $7.50 each)
Blue vest: Free.  I already owned a dark vest so I used mine even though it didn't have the paisley pattern that Jenny's has in the show.
Brown Shoes: Jenny 1.0 was free as I borrowed the shoes, but Jenny 2.0 cost about $35.00 from Target.
White Button Up Shirt: $25.00 at Old Navy.
Blue Tie: Free. The Captain already owned a light blue tie!
Gloves: $20 gloves from Target.
Sword: $10 at a Halloween store (it's a ninja sword that I removed the stickers from).
Holster: $8.00 leather swatch from Hobby Lobby.
Super Glue: $5 from Hobby Lobby (for holster construction).

These elements will complete the costume. We will come back to the budget later on!

4. Determine if this will be a high sew, low sew, or no sew costume.

Jenny 1.0 (below) was a no sew because she had no holster for her sword.  Jenny 2.0 was light sew because there was some construction needed in creating a holster.  Overall, because 99% of this costume are pieces that you can find ready to go either in your closet, your friends closet, or the store...I'm rating this a No Sew Costume.

5. Critique and try again!

Every CosPlay goes through incarnations; you must use each incarnation to determine what needs to be improved upon. Remember that you need to see how it looks on camera AND in person - not just one or the other.  Let's look at my Jenny incarnations.

Jenny 1.0: Debut October 2013

Jenny 1.0 wasn't awful, but there were some key elements either completely missing or lacking effectiveness. I also forgot to consider photos when creating my makeup for this CosPlay.  I was so concerned with Vastra's special effects and texture that I forgot about Jenny.  Due to this, all the photos of Jenny 1.0 look washed out. I also thought the pants were horrible in photos, but that's more me than the CosPlay!


Jenny 2.0: Debut February 2014

Jenny 2.0 had a few more elements going for her at the Comic Con.  (1) I fixed my curls and they stayed in place all day. (2) I found gloves that MADE the outfit.  They were only about $20 at Target and I've been able to use them as actual gloves reducing my "CosPlay Only" Cost. (3) Pants were more "wearable" and I was more comfortable throughout the day. (4) I made sure to contour and accentuate Jenny 2.0's makeup.  Remember: How does it photograph?




Overall, I was able to repurpose almost every element of this CosPlay for other purposes. The shirt, tie, vest, pants, gloves, and shoes have all be incorporated into my wardrobe for day to day wear.  For budgeting purposes, these items then go into my general wardrobe budget.

High waisted tan pants: $15 at a thrift store (I bought two pair, each at about $7.50 each)
Blue vest: Free.  I already owned a dark vest so I used mine even though it didn't have the paisley pattern that Jenny's has in the show.
Brown Shoes: Jenny 1.0 was free as I borrowed the shoes, but Jenny 2.0 cost about $35.00 from Target.
White Button Up Shirt: $25.00 at Old Navy.
Blue Tie: Free. The Captain already owned a light blue tie!
Gloves: $20 gloves from Target.
Sword: $10 at a Halloween store (it's a ninja sword that I removed the stickers from).
Holster: $8.00 leather swatch from Hobby Lobby.
Super Glue: $5 from Hobby Lobby (for holster construction).

When you remove the items I repurposed from the budget, I am left with the sword, holster, super glue and one pair of pants - Jenny 1.0 pants just needed to go.  They are getting re-donated! For this CosPlay my "CosPlay Only" Cost makes this character a $30.50 CosPlay!

We definitely think Jenny/Vastra 2.0 was a success as we ended up on social media everywhere, even across the pond:



At our last Con, Vastra and I took so many photos that we got grumpy when people asked for photos by the end of our day!  This is a great problem to have because it means that you were successful in your CosPlay, but we also thought it was a good time to retire this duo for a while.  We want to explore and perfect other characters before returning to Jenny and Vastra.  Our next Con, in May, will provide us with the opportunity to play Kaylee, Mal (CrossPlay), and Simon from Firefly.  I'll be sure to keep you updated on those as well!  Before I leave Jenny, I want to say that without my lovely wife, Vastra, this CosPlay would not have been as successful as we were.  So thanks to my lovely wife and Con companion!



-Seven of Nine-


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