Luckily for us, that dress is popular enough that there are a lot of images available online for reference. I wasn't going to be doing an exact recreation (it's far too complicated a shape to try to reproduce without one of the dresses themselves to use for guidance) but one of 'Manda's friends suggested using one of Simplicity's Game of Thrones/Hobbit patterns as a starting point. Having read all about the pattern in Andrea Schewe's blog (and already owning a copy), I thought it was a great idea.
The essential characteristics needed for the dress:
low V-neck with partially functional, partially decorative zipper closure
billowy skirt with hankerchief style hemline
drawstring cord on side hems for parachute look
bonus for functionality/accuracy: exposed zipper pockets on the hips
Alterations made to the commercial pattern:
added panels to the sides of the skirt (with the zippered pockets in them) to get the pointy hem-line and add fullness
added center front seam to the skirt to accommodate the neck-line zipper
(had to sew things together in a different order than the instructions because of the above changes)
cut and finished the hem-line in a gentle curve between each seam on the front, same on the side but left a channel in the hem for the drawstring.
I could have made several additional adjustments to the pattern for more accuracy, but working within time restraints meant that wasn't really possible, and more importantly the final fit was also better having done it this way. 'Manda added a purchased belt and accessories and looked so awesome as River Song. Even for a perfectionist like me, not everything has to be 100% accurate; I'm really happy with how this came out.
I'm recycling the pink wig from my Fluttershy costume, and hoped to do 3 things to make it perfect: dye it a darker colour of pink, straighten the curl in it, and cut it to about shoulder length. I used some Tulip brand fabric dye I already had at home (since I know that fabric dyes can be used effectively on some types of wig fibers), but after trying my best I had to admit defeat - the wig did not take ANY of the hot pink colour at all. I could try again with FW ink or i-Dye Poly, but guessing from some online research there's a high chance that my wig fibers won't take new colour at all, so I'm not going to bother wasting my time and money. After all, there's nothing wrong with the colour it is now. Straightening the wig was another problem, because it's not heat-resistant, so I couldn't just run a flatiron over it. I ended up steaming it by carefully ironing it a section at a time, under a wet towel. It's didn't get all of the curl out, but was a big improvement. I did a quick cut to get the wig to approximately the length I want, and will be doing a more careful trim/clean-up on that before the next time I wear it. I also sprayed the wig with silicone lubricant - I was having a lot of trouble with tangles in this whole process (dyeing, washing, steaming, cutting...) so the silicone should help* prevent more of a problem while I'm actually wearing it.
I decided to make gloves and sleeves for my arms instead of using makeup - it's a time investment (especially in this case), but tends to be worth it if you plant to wear a costume more than once since it saves time getting dressed, provides much more even colour, you don't have to worry about it rubbing off, and there's no clean-up. I used a "power mesh" in the closest colour I could find to my makeup and really like the results. I might do a brief power mesh tutorial at some point down the road if people would like more info.
Izabel wears cuffs on her wrists which is pretty convenient for me to cover up that the gloves and sleeves are separate pieces (makes washing hands easy!). While leather would probably have been the most accurate choice, hot pink leather and learning the skills to work with it were not in my budget for this costume, not to mention it would have been uncomfortable. So I used fleece, and added some black to give the parts some outline-type definition so the details would be less likely to disappear. I'm not 100% sold on the black base layer, so I might change that, but I definitely got all the details I wanted worked in.
The character's exposed guts are one of her defining features, and unfortunately just the way things worked out, they were the last thing to get done. Mere hours before the Snailoween party I was sewing lumpy tubes out of all the different pink fabrics I have in my stash and KW Iron Man was being the best boyfriend and stuffing them while I cut and sewed. Keeping things simple, I just safety-pinned the intestines to a belt. They ended up being a lot more voluminous than I had been picturing which gave me problems with the fit of the shirt, but the longer I wore it, the more I decided I like how they sit.
So that's the costume done, though I still want to improve the makeup (including the prosthetic nose). I got a few nice photos from the Snailoween party which I will be posting next week and I'm hoping to get some more nice shots at Fan Fare Geek Fest II which is coming up this Saturday!