Kitties and Crossdressing

A very belated Happy Halloween to you!

This Halloween kind of snuck up on us, and we didn't get nearly as into it this year as we normally do. Only a few decorations got put up, and only a few days before Halloween. T didn't really have a costume this year (again)... He carried around a styrofoam ball and went as hydrogen. (We played with the idea of leaving the styrofoam ball at home and saying he was a to-scale hudrogen atom, but figured that would be too obscure.)

None of my other friends had a costume, because apparently I'm the only cool person. (Okay, that's not fair. We went to a pub with a cute Pikachu and a Phantom of the Opera-esque guy.)

It also doesn't help that Halloween fell on a Monday, so I think everyone got their partying/dressing up out of the way over the weekend. (The weekend that saw our first snow of the season! Figures it would be a wet, ugly one) When I went to school on Monday dressed as a tuxedo cat, I was the only person I saw on campus who was in any sort of costume. I only saw one family Trick or Treating, and only two houses that were decorated.

I am disapoint.

We finally finished watching all of Stargate Atlantis, and I was hunting around for costume ideas, when I thought Ronon Dex would make a fun costume.

Sadly, due to lack of tools and money, I didn't get to do it the way I'd have liked to - for one, I would be missing his gun and knife... really iconic parts of his character. But, the rest of it seemed like it would be fun to make from scratch, so I went for it. It didn't turn out perfect - I would have needed to do lots of leather working for it to look genuine - but I'm happy with my results. I learned a lot along the way, and if I ever go to a convention I'll definitely improve and add on to this costume. I had fun trying to stay "in character." Seeing as how I'm terrible at being straight-faced and surly, I just spent the whole night trying to sit like a man by not crossing my legs.

Ronon Dex collage

I can't source most of these images, as I lost track of what forums and fan sites I pulled them from. Several appear to be screen captures of the show, with a few being media releases from the producers of the show

(Show the rest)

Ronon Dex doesn't really have a characteristic outfit, which made making a costume for him both easier and harder. Harder because it's difficult to make it recognizable; easier because it gives me more leeway. There are four identifiable things about him: his hair, his tattoos, the leg holster, and brown. After that, his clothing changes constantly, incorporating things that are clearly Earth-made, things that are leather and things that are likely hand-woven.


The hair took the most planning and cost the most, though that's my own fault. Looking around, most dreadlock wigs are absolutely terrible and fake-looking. The best I had been able to find were wigs or dreads made of felted wool... though they were still pricey, and the dreads themselves were a bit skinnier than I needed.

But, I could totally make my own.

I ordered two pounds of wool roving from a local supplier at $15 per pound. It turns out that I only needed like, a quarter of a pound, so I have the equivalent of a sheep lying around and nothing to do with it. I thought I had read in one tutorial that they used one and a half pounds of wool to make a set of dreads, but looking back I think perhaps they said ounces instead of pounds, or something like that. Or else they rolled their wool very, very densely.

Photo of a bag of loose wool.
The best part was that the wool still had tiny bits of straw and wood shavings in it. PERFECT for Ronon. ;)

I spent two nights watching movies and rubbing wet chunks of wool into dreads. They turned out looking like actual dreads, providing you don't look too closely (or smell them.) At this point, they were still dirty white, and I had to figure out a way to dye them.

Everywhere I read said not to dye wool with fabric dye, because wool fibers won't hold the dye. (And people warned that something like Rit, an all-purpose dye, contains a bunch of different types of dyes to try to be a "jack of all trades," and that the color tends to not be as rich on protein-based fibers, like silk and wool) Interestingly, you can actually dye wool using Kool-aid, and it turns out quite vibrant. The problem is I didn't want lime green; I wanted dark brown. Someone recommended mixing lemonade, grape, and orange to get a dark brown.

I ended up with some kind of horrible entrail color. (Which I will keep in mind for if I ever need to make a batch of wool entrails.)

In desperation, I went out and bought some dark brown Rit, saying, "Screw what the knitters say, this will get the fuckers brown." And it did. (Though the second batch dyed much lighter than the first, leaving me with an odd bi-colored wig)

I then just stitched the dreads to a knit hat to create the wig. I molded a little skull out of white Sculpy (which, apparently, is very prone to burning. I had to use white spray paint to over the dark brown burns) and painted it with white and brown acrylic paint to give it an aged appearance. I missed a few other details - sometimes Ronon has beads and stuff woven into his hair, and I missed one of the metal bands, but I got the two most important details.

Except, apparently mirrors are confusing, and I ended up gluing the ring and skull onto the wrong side of the wig. >:(


I was worried about the arm tat, since it's quite big and likely to be rubbed quite a bit. I toyed with the idea of using a Sharpie, but then I read a technique I should have figured out from the beginning: liquid eyeliner. I have a black eyeliner pen that is just like using a marker. I did a test the night before and, while the application of the tattoo is kind of tedious, it does not budge with normal wear. It only came off or smudged when it got wet (and with some soap, it washes off with no remains) I was extremely pleased! If you dust the tattoo with some makeup powder, it makes it look like it's sitting below the skin and is fairly convincing. But, keeping the geometric pattern was tricky!

Leg Holster and cuffs

I had a lot of fun making this prop. I bought half a meter of brown leather-patterned vinyl (for about $4, since I have a discount card) and did a fair bit of sewing on my crappy Singer. The vinyl was thin enough that I only had problems when trying to sew through ~5 layers. I just cut out the shapes I needed and then put the wrong sides together and stitched around the edges, cleaning everything up with scissors. You can still see the white backing on some of the edges, but I didn't have the patience or time to fuss with doing it properly.

Once the pieces were ready, I used "heavy duty" bronze snaps to attach the pieces together. It gives the holster more personality, added a bit of weight, and was easier than sewing several layers together. (Though, I don't think our neighbours appreciated me hammering all afternoon...) I salvaged the belt buckle from a broken belt. Buckles were a problem, actually... I couldn't find any little buckles for the leather cuffs and ended up using more snaps. I also only had the one buckle, so I couldn't do his second belt. :(

Brown things

The shirt was easy enough: I just bought a men's sweater at the thrift store and took my scissors to it, turning it into a tank top. I stitched around all the openings so the sweater would look nice and ratty without unraveling.

I got extremely lucky at the same thrift store and found a great leather trench coat for $25. It kept me warm and in costume! That's the thing I dread most about Halloween - it's so cold that you have to break character on a lot of costumes. I was very happy I haven't had to do that for three years now!

That left the pants. There was no way I'd find the right kind of brown leather pants for a good price, so I went to my trusty fabric store and bought some "leather look" fabric and a pattern for pants. This was the first time I've made pants, and I'm quite pleased with how they turned out. I even deviated from the pattern enough to add a fly zip and button, based off of an old pair of jeans.

2 things about

Kitties and Crossdressing
  1. That leather jacket is pretty sweet! I have never watched any of the Star Gates but this character does have a neat aesthetic appeal. Glad you had fun with it!

  2. The jacket is really comfy, though it's about ten sizes too big, bahaha. Too bad it's a women's cut, otherwise I'd give it to a guy friend!

    I totally love SG1 and SG Atlantis. They have great plot and great characters. :3


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