I’m sure everyone has heard or seen the “Historically Accurate Disney Princess” series by Claire “Shoom’ lah” Hummel? Well, I stumbled upon her art a long time ago and then rediscovered it again recently and saw her version of Tiana and immediately fell in love. I have seen other people do her other princesses, but I had never seen anyone do her version of Tiana before and knew that I wanted to bring this art to life. Plus, I love doing “extra” or different versions of classic characters. If you ask any of my friends about me, they will tell you that the bigger or more “extra” the costume, the better! And that was Tiana’s 1920s outfit for me!
I was pleasantly surprised about how many people recognized who I was! I thought it would be too different from Tiana’s typical outfit to be recognizable. But I even had a little girl run up to me and get my attention. But once she had my attention, she didn’t know what to do! She was so shy that she didn’t know how to interact with me. So I started singing “When I’m Human” and she started to smile but was still so shy. Her mom took a picture of us, and she waved a small goodbye. I love these small moments at cons. Whenever I dress up as a Disney character, I feel like I become that character a little bit so that I can keep their fantasy alive whenever I see a child.
I also received a great reaction from the POC cosplay community. Everyone was so kind and loved asking me about my cosplay. It was such a welcoming environment. The POC cosplay community is so supportive and I wish they would get more recognition in the bigger cosplay community. I feel that a lot of POC cosplayers are not really recognized because they don’t look exactly like the characters they cosplay (which is a bigger issue on media lacking representation) but I would love for them to receive more support. 🙂
The costume was put together with a lot of research. When I first saw it I asked my other cosplayer friends how they thought I should construct it. After talking to one of my friends who does historically accurate costumes, we thought that the best way to move forward was to do a robe de style type of dress that was popular in the early 1920s. Robe de style dresses are not like the typical flapper dress where it was a column, rather it was a drop waist dress with panniers for hip volume and skirts that fell well below the knees. But after doing some more research I realized that the art did not really match the structure of the classic robe de style, so I decided to draft my own pattern.
The skirt looks deceptively simple but actually has about 10 yds of tulle and chiffon other fabric for volume and ultimate twirl effect, as well as 5 yds of the decorative beaded fabric gathered for a voluminous and effortless look. It was quite the challenge assembling this all onto a drop waist skirt, but I did it!
The top…the top was a pain. In hindsight, I realize I chose the wrong type of fabric for what I was trying to achieve. Draping this fabric to get the lovely pleats shown in the picture was painful. I spent hours at my dress form hand sewing and hand tacking the pleats. However, the fabric does not really hold pleats as well as I like so I actually plan to remake the top for future shoots.
My favorite part of this cosplay is probably one of the smallest pieces, the hat. I love making hats and working on wigs so this cosplay was super fun. The hat is made out of buckram that is shaped with steam and wire to keep its shape. The hair is based on the finger wave style that was popular in the 1920s, but I kept my hair a bit longer as Tiana is always shown as having slightly longer hair than what was popular then.
Oh boy! Cosplay has become a big part of my life! I have met so many friends through the cosplay community and have found a hobby that I’m incredibly passionate about. My cosplay friends are the people I am able to really nerd out with and hang around with at cons (as well as outside of cons)! I now can walk into a con and know that there is at least one person I know and have a blast. Even if we just end up sitting in a corner we have a great time!
Some of my cosplay friends are also the ones who encourage me to continually work on improving my skills. For example, one of my friends/senpai really pushed me to participate in a masquerade with her (something I would never have done on my own). Even though I was extremely stressed working on the cosplay for the competition, the day of the masquerade I was so pumped (even though I was running on about 3 hours of sleep). I was running on pure adrenaline but it was completely worth it because we won “Best in Show”! I was completely flabbergasted and proud of myself. I was and am incredibly thankful to my friend who pushed me to take on this challenge. Without her, I never would have had that experience.
I think I would like people to know that while cosplay is incredibly fun and fulfilling it can be challenging. I have seen some wonderful people be attacked online by random strangers for simply enjoying their hobby and that breaks my heart. I hope that cosplayers and fellow nerds can create an environment of positivity where we encourage each other! I love this nerdy little hobby and am so grateful for all the wonderful people I have met along the way, so I just want to see it thrive! <3
Also, if you see me at a con please say hi! I love meeting new people! 🙂
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