Cosplay Tuesday: Mai

Welcome to Cosplay Tuesday! Every week we feature one of our costumes and talk a little more in-depth about it. This week, we’ll be turning the spotlight on Bria’s Mai costume from The Beach episode from Avatar: The Last Airbender.

This was probably the best costuming decision I ever made.  Let me tell you how positively thrilling it was to be wearing this at Dragon*Con this year in the horribly oppressive Atlanta heat.  I’d worn head to toe black the day before which made this even more of a pleasant change.  Wearing this was amazing… or at least it was until I went inside for a BSG panel and froze.

It also helps that Mai is basically my spirit animal.  She was also the first character where I put on the wig and costume and immediately went “WOW OKAY I WAS MEANT TO COSTUME THIS CHARACTER”.

This was one of the easier costumes to make and happened during my Spring Break last year.  (Oh the irony of making Spring Break!Mai during my Spring Break.) It did, however, involve some guesswork and a lot of staring at fabric.  The skirt was just a slightly modified version of a pattern I found in my pattern drawer.  I originally considered editing the pattern to remove the pockets but then I remembered Rule #2 of Costuming: If you can add in pockets, HAVE POCKETS.  Okay so maybe I couldn’t fit my wallet, my camera, AND my phone in them but it was better than having to ask my dear friend Brandyn to carry all of my stuff.  The skirt definitely took some tweaking but the best part was that I didn’t have to hem it!

The top was what involved most of the staring.  I’ve never made a bandeau top before and therefore got to practice my clueless face quite a bit.  I wish I could give you a magical formula for making one but at the end of the day, I just took a lot of measurements of my chest, crossed my fingers, cut the fabric, and hoped for the best.  Getting the elastic to work on the inside took a little bit of trial and error but eventually worked out!

The toughest part of this costume was actually assembling the wig.  Although my natural hair is about right for the costume, my lack of bangs made going the wig route a better plan.  I found a short wig to use as a base on Ebay and then cried while trying to cut the bangs to the appropriate length.  (Honestly, I’d be happy to never have to cut bangs ever again.)  The rest of was a matter of buying some extensions and hair buns and bobby pinning the crap out of everything and hoping it would stay in place for the afternoon.

And of course, you can’t have Mai without her fellow Fire Nation ladies.  Lin was Azula (~with lightning in her hair~) and our friend Abby was our Ty Lee.  Ozai Angels, am I right?  We got up to some ridiculous shenanigans outside the Hyatt and it was the best.  They involved Mai looking bored, Ty Lee being crazy happy, and Azula and Zuko trying to kill each other and insisting that THEY had the prettiest hair of all time.  (Uncle Iroh could not be found to give everyone soothing tea.)

I also have to pause and give some major props to my friend Brian for letting Lin and me clothesline him into being our Zuko about two weeks before the con.  Brian is a costuming newbie and originally though we were joking when we tweeted and told me to be our Zuko.  (Spoiler Alert: We’re never joking with costuming suggestions.)  Somehow, he managed to pull this costume together just in time for the convention and a friend of a friend offered to help him out with the burn scar makeup. And he didn’t even drop ice cream on me!

Want to see more of Bria’s work?  Then head on over to her Costume Gallery!