Black Panther, the Marvel & Disney movie, has been in theaters for less than one week and I have already seen it twice. Each time I viewed it, I wore clothing with prints to mimic traditional African garb for cosplay and to just look cute. My first outfit’s top is a piece by modern African designer & brand, AleroJasmine. My husband and I made it a date day and it was a really good time being able to witness Black Panther on opening weekend. For my second viewing, I was taking our one year old son to see a movie in the theater for the first time. We (I) took the Black Panther cosplay a little bit further this time by creating us a matching outfit.
Black Panther for the Culture
For the culture means for the advancement of, glorification of, and reveling in “the culture” – black American culture. I’ve read and posts so many think pieces, appreciation post, fingerling posts, and more about Black Panther. I’m happy about this film and IT MATTERS. Anyone who says it doesn’t is out of touch with reality, in my opinion. Anyone speaking negatively on people who celebrating this historic moment in time by dressing up in African themed attire and doing Black Panther cosplay (dressing up as the specific characters) need to lighten up. This movie just makes people HAPPY, and I’m so here for it. Per my Facebook page, a snippet of one of my captions from the 7540938234 Facebook posts I have made/shared about Black Panther thus far:
The “Hey Auntie” line got me! Sounded just like my cousin when he talks to our aunts lol!
And do y’all get how MONUMENTAL that is? A Marvel & Disney movie with lines that sound like my family, a REAL BLACK family, said it?! How many times can you say that’s happened?
Don’t worry. I’ll wait.
Thrift Shopping for Cultural Items
I love shopping at Dallas, Texas area thrift stores because it is filled with items donated by people from so many different cultures. I have found handmade African clothes and traditional Indian pieces, and I’ve even talked about African head wraps, Indian saris, and cultural appropriation concerning finding these pieces.
For my second viewing of Black Panther with my son, I wanted us to wear the same fabric in an African textile print. I knew that the easiest, most budget-friendly, and sustainable option would be to find African print pieces at the thrift store. Check out my posts on why “thrifting” and “reuse” are sustainable lifestyle options. I was able to find this set the day before our movie while the thrift stores were having a 1/2 price holiday sale. It was originally $7, so I only paid $3.50 for it. It started as a set, and as with my other refashioned thrift store finds, I made it into what we needed it to be. I kept the pants as they were to wear for myself. Next, I “tailored” the top, which was too big even for me, to fit my son who is almost 18 months old. I use the term “tailored” loosely because I always make things up as I go – I am NOT a seamstress. But here’s how it went down.
Creating Black Panther Cosplay for a Child from Original Adult Sized African Print Clothes
- an oversized shirt
- sewing needle/sewing machine
- sewing pins
- pattern and/or shirt in child’s size (or a little bigger, since this fabric doesn’t stretch much)
- lay oversized shirt on flat surface
- place child size shirt on top of it, aligning the neck lines so that you don’t have to create a new hem for it
- cut out the shape of the smaller shirt on the big shirt, leaving at least 1.5″ around the shirt’s edges (this is where I should say again that I am NOT a professional – my son’s shirt almost didn’t fit because I cut it close lol)
- First, I cut the bottom off very neatly so that I could use it as a hair band/ head wrap in the future
- Then, I cut along the sides, stopping where I needed to for the armpit area
- You can continue to cut the entire shape out here
- Next, I carefully removed the sleeves to put in my scrap fabric drawer.
- After your shape/pattern is cut out, turn the pieces “inside out” to prepare for sewing.
- Pin the pieces in place so that your pattern does not get out of place.
- Sew the edges and tie off the threads. Don’t sew the neck or sleeve holes up. That would be tragic, albeit fixable.
- Turn the shirt right side out, and you and your child now have matching African print clothes!
We’re with Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) & the River Tribe
The outfit we found just happened to be green, so our Black Panther Cosplay places us right in line with the badass Nakia and her folks in the River Tribe! She is so gorgeous, humble, and quietly fierce as Nakia. That’s what she seems like in real life every time I watch one of her interviews. Next time I dress up, I’m going to create an outfit and play Okoye (Danai Gurira). Now Greyson just needs a Black Panther costume and my husband will have to work with an outfit like CIA agent Everett K. Ross (Martin Freeman), and our cosplay dreams will be complete!
Greyson’s adjustable moccasins are by Kinbe.
*note: if DIY is not your style, please support small businesses like AleroJasmine in your cultural Black Panther Cosplay & dress up endeavors!
I’m already making plans for a Black Panther themed 2nd birthday party for Greyson! This movie has me hype. I don’t think the hype will fade anytime soon, and I’m ok with that! You can also see some of Greyson’s latest toddler thrift hauls on his blog.
How many times have you seen it already? Did you dress up?? Will you go thrifting to find your Black Panther cosplay outfit now? Let me know in the comments below!
xoxo dolls & dudes,