Countdown to Dragon Con 2009

The past few weeks have been kind of weird. Not the walking dead kind of weird. Just…a little off. We leave for Dragon Con in three days. Usually about this time in the lead up to a convention Maggie and I are uber-busy trying to finish costumes. For instance, Shore Leave saw me staying up for over 24 hours before we left for Timonium, working like mad on my wig, painting my “sleeves” and basically running around with my head cut off. Before that I was hurriedly making repairs and changes to my Po costume and trying to finish my steampunk corset.

This time, however, I’m going to be wearing mostly already completed pieces. Obviously the Jedi jammies are complete. Zombie clothing is a walk in the park (and, in case you didn’t know, a hell of a lot of fun to distress). Molly Weasley was done when I last went to Polaris. The changes being done to the sleeves aren’t being done by me, so I’m not worrying about them. I’ve had to make a new piece for Velma, but most of the new finds have been made by now. By the way – you know how I thought I was okay with the skirt but had to make a new sweater? It turned out to be the opposite. The old skirt shrunk to a little shorter than I’m really comfortable with and, thanks to the wonderful closet of my friend LeeAnn, I’ve got a wonderful ready-to-wear orange sweater that I’m borrowing.

I had originally planned on doing a simple circle skirt for the new Velma skirt – the sewing version of “cut and paste.” There’s actually an almost finished one sitting out on the futon in the basement. I ended up having enough fabric left over to try my hand at another design, though, and I’m actually happier with that version of the skirt. It just needs to be hemmed now.

::sigh:: I hate hemming my own stuff.

It almost doesn’t feel like I’m in the midst of con prep time because I don’t have a huge laundry list of things that still need to be done. Apart from, you know…actual laundry.

Speaking of – we finally got a new, working washer and dryer, courtesy of my brother. The Jedi robe went right in. I usually let it accumulate a good deal of “character.” Nothing gross – mainly just dirt on the hem or snags on the sleeves, but I figured it was due for a wash. It gets left in the dryer for a while afterwards, though, to give wrinkles a bit of time to set in. Yep, that’s right. Sometimes wrinkles in your clothes are a good thing.

Anyhoo, this time when I pulled the cloak out I noticed it’s really starting to look lived in. I’m really excited about it, actually. I don’t really like artificially distressing costumes (except for zombie clothes) simply because you can usually tell that the costume didn’t come by it’s state of disrepair naturally. When Maggie and I first started wearing our Jedi stuff, the outfits naturally looked pristine. They hadn’t yet been lived in. By now, though, they’ve been worn to four conventions. And around my basement, to be honest.

Don’t give me that look. It’s usually freezing downstairs, the robe is warm, and any costumer will admit to doing the same.

Since we tend to wear the Jedi robes on Saturdays – typically the busiest day of most cons – they get put through the proverbial wringer. They’re worn in all weather, used as bedding for much-needed naps, occasionally loaned to folks needing to run from the bathroom to the green room while in undergarments (as at Costume Con), held up to create impromptu changing rooms, and used to cover and transport pieces that we’re using in the masquerade. They come in quite handy when you need to hide costumes and props.

The big thing that ended up taking up most of my time this weekend was a slight debaucle in regards to my hair. A few weeks ago, when I went to get my hair cut, a woman at the salon talked me into getting highlights. She didn’t, however, spend a whole lot of time figuring out what color they should be and I ended up leaving said salon a bit more…er…blonde than I typically am. While certain patches of my hair have tendencies to turn a bit blondish when I spend the entire summer out in the sun, it doesn’t typically turn that blonde. Plus, you could tell that she had just kind of hastily painted my hair with the highlight goop. The roots showed on almost all of the sections.

Friday I decided to try to make my hair go back to a more natural shade. I should have spent a little more time debating over the color. Maggie helped me put it on (I can’t see enough with out my glasses to do my own hair – another reason I fit the Velma character) and we let it sit while we watched an episode of The Big Bang Theory. We probably should have been paying more attention to the hair while the color set in. It ended up coming out burgandy. Or maroon. I’m actually a little shaky on the whole difference between those two colors.

The color actually matched the deep wine color of my new Velma skirt. To top it all off, there were a few streaks here and there that hadn’t really soaked up any of the color at all. It was a mess.

I went home that night and tried to lighten the color with a couple of home remedies, none of which worked. The next day I went to the store with my mother. I planned to just get a much lighter color and re-dye the whole thing. Apparently ash brown would have changed it closer to normal. We ended up finding a box of stuff called “Color Oops.” It was the extra strength kind, intended for use with “stubborn colors.”

That’s certainly the type mine was.

Because the stuff has no ammonia or bleach in it your hair is supposed to be left safe enough to re-dye that same day. My hopes were that no additional dying would be needed. I mixed the stuff up (it smelled absolutely disgusting), applied it to my hair and waited the directed 20 minutes. Afterwards, you’re supposed to wash your hair twice and check the results. My hair wasn’t completely back to normal – there were a couple of places where the dye was still hanging about – so I reapplied in those specific places and waited another 20 minutes.

There were three little pictures on the back of the box. The first was an approximation of what the person’s original hair color might be. The second was hair after a coloring mistake. The last picture was what your hair should return to. The original color shown on the box actually closely matched my actual hair color, just as the “mistake” picture matched the burgandy dye job.

My hair still smells kind of funky – like the Color Oops – and it isn’t completely back to the original color it was. Interestingly enough, the parts that were sort of bleached before, by the woman at the salon, have gone back to a shade that’s a bit more natural. There’s still a slight redness to my highlights, but it’s more like the copper that my hair normally turns.

Although it didn’t live up to the promise of getting my hair completely back to normal it did make it look much more natural.

So…lessons learned: If you’ve got a hair dye mistake, you might want to give Color Oops a try (it was a pretty good investment, for the $8.50 I put in). You probably shouldn’t try to dye your hair a week before a convention. It just adds to the stress level. If you do decide to dye it, you probably shouldn’t get caught up watching Big Bang Theory while waiting for the color to set.


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