LOTR Brunch: Gandalf the Grey-ish

Last Sunday’s Geek Girl Brunch had us making a visit to The Shire to hang out with our favorite hobbits, elves, and wizards. The theme: Lord of the Rings!

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Group shot! Photo courtesy of Geek Girl Brunch Miami

Aside from the great brunch (Thanks Ms. Cheezious!) GGB is always a fun opportunity to dress up, whether in casual cosplay, serious costuming and props, or anything in between.

I landed somewhere in between as Gandalf the Grey. I wanted to keep my costs low while still making an effort to get crafty. My solution: a grey dress I already had, a self-made fleece hat (Gandalf’s signature wardrobe piece, duh) and a grey “cloak”.

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That’s me! Gandalf, sans staff. Photo by Melificent

My so-called “cloak” was made by simply taking a rectangle of fleece, gathering the corners, and pinning them to my dress around the shoulders. Done! (#lazycosplay)

I put a bit more effort into the hat since I wanted it to be the defining piece of the outfit (although if someone shows up in grey to a LOTR event, you’re kinda going to guess that they’re Gandalf….) After reviewing several pictures of Gandalf from the movie and random cosplayers, I figured I could get the effect I wanted by making myself a “witch hat” and then bending/stuffing the cone to get the Gandalf look.

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I made the hat without a pattern, using only math as my guide…and the only math you really need to use is to determine a radius to make the brim.

While I used fleece, I’d actually recommend using something stiffer, like felt. For the brim I had to use an interfacing to keep the hat from becoming a floppy fleece beach hat.* And then because of the interfacing (it was white and wouldn’t look great exposed) I had to use a 2nd layer of grey fleece for the bottom of the brim. The trickiest part of the project was sewing the cone to the brim, but with plenty of pins and some patience (always my weak point) it didn’t turn out too terribly. 

In total I used about 2.5 yards, keeping my project under $12. I managed to wear the cloak a surprisingly long time, considering it was in the 90’s in the courtyard. I kept poking people and getting stuck in tree branches with my hat, so that was amusing.

To finish, I’ll leave you all with a picture of our swag from the brunch. Isn’t it awesome?!!

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*Now I can’t get the image of Gandalf sunbathing with his floppy fleece beach hat out of my head…

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Mythical Creatures Brunch: Totoro

Have you heard of Geek Girl Brunch? If you haven’t, go check it out right now.

I joined as soon as they launched a chapter in Miami, and I am not exaggerating when I say its one of the best things I’ve done in the last few years. I have met so many great people through Geek Girl Brunch (GGB) and it has legitimately changed my life.

Last weekend the Miami Chapter had their November brunch with the theme of “Mythical Creatures” in honor of the new Harry Potter movie “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”. It took me a few weeks to find the proper inspiration and I finally made the decision with less than a week before the event. I decided on one of my favorite mythical creatures: Totoro, from “My Neighbor Totoro.”

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As soon as I made my decision, I knew exactly how I would make this happen, and all without having to buy a single thing! (You see, hoarding does have its benefits!)

All I needed was a grey dress, grey and white fleece, and a headband. The most complicated part was the headband. I had purchased a few pairs of kids bunny ears at Target back around Easter (yay for the Dollar Spot!) so I used one as the base for my Totoro ears.

I was crafting this all the night before, so I didn’t get any progress pics. However the process is simple. Once I had the headband and wires exposed I shaped them into the general shape I wanted. I traced this shape onto the fleece and cut out 4 times (I added a seam allowance, but in hindsight I would make it smaller, or eliminate altogether) and sewed two pairs together to make 2 ears! (Sew right sides together, trim excess fabric, and turn right side out!)

If you don’t have a sewing machine I’m fairly sure you can recreate this by sandwiching the wires in between two layers and gluing together.

I slipped them over the wires and glued down the base of the ears to the headband. To cover up the band I cut out a rectangle long enough to cover from end to end, and tapered the width to match the headband. I measured out the location for two slits through which I could squeeze the ears through, and then glued it all down with a glue gun. (I won’t show you the inner part of the headband, because like I said….I was in a hurry so it does NOT look pretty!

The bib was the easiest part to make. I grabbed a piece of fleece, eyeballed the width and height I wanted, and cut out the shape with scissors. I cut out and glued the little crescents with a glue gun. Once dry, I safety pinned (from the inside) to the front of my dress. Definitely not the most impeccable items I’ve ever made, but it was quick, fun, and dare I say cute!

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My best attempt at imitating Totoro’s expression.

Geek Girl Brunch always does a fantastic job at the brunches. If you consider yourself even mildly geeky I’d suggest you check it out! The brunches are very popular, thus a bit difficult to get into, but so worth it! (Did I mention there are swag bags?!)

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Group shot  courtesy of GGB Miami