Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Mukaido Manaka

I wanted to try my hand at making a seifuku for a school girl so that I could have a comfy cosplay for lazy Sundays at cons.  I chose to make Manaka's costume as my first one because she is such a cute character and I totally adored the series!  I needed to show it some love, not to mention the costume was too cute to pass up!

Construction:

Dress - I started out with a simple dress pattern that consisted of a princess seamed bodice and a box pleated skirt.  I modified the dress to have knife pleats instead of box pleats and to have a V-neck.  The dress was made using a white fabric that was relatively heavy.  The blue strip along the bottom as well as the blue sailor collar was made out of a knit fabric.  The sailor collar was hand drafted and added to the dress before the lining for the bodice was sewn in.  The dress closes with an invisible zipper located in a side seam.

Sailor Collar
Socks - The socks took very little time to make, I just needed to paint the blue stripe along the top of the knee length white socks.

Painting the socks
Earrings - The earrings were made using white feathers and bobby pins.  I don't have my ear pierced so all the character earring I make use bobby pins to fix them to the wig behind the ear.

Wig - The wig was bought off of an eBay store.  Her hair was pretty simple to make, I only needed to trim the bangs.

Cut bangs
Shoes - I wanted to try and find some brown Mary Janes for this cosplay but I was cheap so I just used my brown flats that I bought for "bare-footed" characters.

Completed Costume

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Fuu

Fuu has been on my dream cosplay list since I saw Magic Knight Rayearth.  I loved her character and felt that I could relate to her.  One day last winter I decided that I needed to get a MKR group organized to showcase my love for it.  I managed to get my friend Jen to be Hikaru and my cosplay friend Bandit Spurs to be Umi.  We debuted our group at Otakuthon 2015 and it was a huge hit!  Turns out there is a lot of love for old anime!

Construction:

Top - I made Fuu's top using the same method that I used for Hikaru's.  It was a simple loose tube of white fabric with an elastic at the top and some excess fabric for the built in ruffle.  The long flowy panels were sewn onto the back of the top; there were four in total were made from a light chiffon.

Completed top
Cincher - I decided to make her cincher out of fabric and interfacing.  I used a "soft" corset pattern (no boning) and modified it slightly.  In hindsight I would not make the cincher out of fabric again as the edge where the eyelets had to go was so thick from the layers of material that I had to glue them in place.

Cincher with bias trim
Skirt - The skirt was made by taking circle skirt pattern and modifying it to have an eliptical shape, with the opening off center.  I cut into the hem to form the ragged edge and each edge was narrow hemmed.  A zipper and waistband was used to form the opening.

Skirt Pattern
Over Skirt - This was probably the easiest thing to make for this costume.  I took an old bed sheet, bleached it and used nearly the whole piece for the fabric of the over skirt.  It was sewn onto an elastic waist band leaving a six inch gap at the front to allow the skirt to poke through.  Hardly any hemming was required as I tried to maximize the use of the already finished hems from the bed sheet.

Armband - The armband was made by simply making a cylinder out of fabric larger than my forearm and adding an elastic hem at the wrist end.  The green ribbons were sewn onto the back of the armband.

Boot Covers - Since the source image didn't show what kind of boots she was wearing, I had to improvise what I thought would be on her legs and feet.  I settled on an asymmetric boot cover design where one boot cover extended slightly past her knee and the other hovered around ankle height,  Both boot covers were made using a slightly tampered cylinder of fabric of different lengths.  The taller one also had a green ribbon sewn into the top as an embellishment.

Armour - Most of the effort that went into this costume was focused on the armour portions.  The were ankle pieces and pauldrons, a hip plate and a knee cover.  All the armour was made using EVA foam with acrylic paint.  I decided to make the pauldrons "float" as they seem to not be supported by her shoulders at all in the source artwork.  I also magnified their size to emphasize the unrealistic proportions that Clamp loves to use in their art.

Basic pattern for pauldron set
In order to create the floating illusion, I made the pauldron into two parts, the inner band that wrapped around my arms and the outer shell.  The outer shell was supported by a series of "bones" that connected the floating piece to the armband.  I don't know how feasible this method would work in other materials but because of the lightness of the foam, the pauldron stayed up and didn't fall down my arm.

Construction of the floating pauldron
The hip piece was simpler to make and consisted of a curved elliptical piece and two strips that acted as the belt.  The knee pad and ankle pieces were designed using simple shapes namely a curved ellipse and two half circles.  All the details were made using EVA foam and Styrofoam balls.  The armour pieces were primed with Gesso, then painted with a base coat of black before adding the colour, shadows and highlights using the dry brush method.  The paint job was sealed using a modge podge acrylic spray sealer.

Painted armour set
Wig - I used my original howl wig as a base to style Fuu's wig.  The wig was bought from Arda Wigs in the Inigo style in light blonde.  To get Fuu's adorable curls, I sectioned the hair into curlers and used boiling water to set the fibers.  I soaked it before letting it dry overnight.  Once the curling process was done I actually had to loosen the curls with a comb to get the flowy hair she has in the anime.

Putting the curlers in
Sword - The sword is currently in progress.

Completed Costume, Photo Credits to Another Exposure


Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Hikaru

I really, really wanted to organize a Magic Knight Rayearth group so I gave a shout out to my friends and followers on Facebook.  Bandit Spurs said that she would be totally down to cosplay as Umi and my friend Jen from uni said that she would be Hikaru.  This was Jen's first costume so I offered to make it for her.

Construction:

Top - The top was pretty simple to make.  It started out as a long rectangle where the length was twice the required length to wrap around her chest.  I sewed the two ends together to make a cylinder then marked a line three inches from the top.  I folded the top edge down from that line and sewed a straight line an inch below the fold.  An elastic that fit right above Jen's bust was placed right under the stitched line with the excess fabric turned under it to create the casing.  Another line was sewn over the fold of the casing with the elastic helping to gather the fabric.  The red sash was made out of a long retangle with each edge rolled hemmed.  The top was hemmed and the sash was sewn on the right side of it.

Skirt - A circle skirt was cut out from the red stretch fabric that fell to about the knees, unhemmed.  A small elastic was sewn to the waist of the skirt and the bottom edge was slit multiple times to create a sort of fringe.  The fringe was rolled hemmed so that each piece ended in a point.  The fringe was cut evenly to mimic the artwork.

Cut Fringe
Over Skirt - The over skirt consisted of two parts, the front piece and the back piece.  The front piece was made using a long rectangle that was hemmed on all edges.  The top part was pleated and sewn in place before it was attached to the elastic that acted as the waist band.  The back part of the skirt was not attached to the elastic but rather worn underneath it with the edges pulled up and over it.  The back piece was also made using a large rectangular piece.

Placing the front and back pieces
Sleeve - The sleeve was pretty simple to construct.  I took a rectangular piece of the white material, sewed it to form a cylinder, hemmed the bottom of the sleeve and turned over the top to sew an elastic casing.  The red ribbons were sewn onto the seam at the top and bottom to form the ties.  The ends of the ribbons were cut on an angle and fray checked.

Boot Covers - The boot covers were made using a pair of knee length socks and the red material that was used for the skirt.  The bottom part of the socks were cut off and a rectangle of the red material was pinned to the sock while I was wearing it.  I hand sewed the red material in place, then hemmed it.  The purple ribbon was also hand sewn to the sock in the back.

Pinning the boot covers
Pauldron - All the armour for this commission was made using EVA foam, contact cement and acrylic paints.  I started out by patterning the different pieces of the pauldron and playing around with different sizes until I got one that I liked.  It was made in four pieces, the rounded top part, the "jewel", the piece under the jewel and finally the bottom part.  I had to break it down into these components due to all the complex curves of the artwork.

Base of the Pauldron
The pieces were glued, heat formed and assembled, with the details added on later.  The round jewels on the side of the pauldrons were made using a Styrofoam ball cut in half.  The large border details were made using EVA foam strips and the thinner details were made using hot glue to make a raised effect.  It was then primed with Gesso and a layer of black paint.  The colours were added in layers, first painting a base coat, then adding shadows and highlights using the dry brush method.  I decided to use ribbon as a mean of attachments and to add a decorative flair.

Cincher - The cincher was made using craft foam and paint, with a lace up front.  The shape of the cincher was drawn out on newspaper, then scaled for size.  Once the final pattern was complete, it was cut from the craft foam twice.  One of the copies was used to make the border of the cincher by cutting out the center of the foam piece.  The two pieces were glued together and then painted in the same way as the pauldron was.  Finally the eyelets were inserting into the opening and the whole thing was sealed to prevent the paint from rubbing on the rest of the custume (it did not work:S).

Adding the eyelets
Belt - The belt is composed of two parts, the armour portion and the cincher portion.  The armour was made using the same methods that I used for the pauldron while the cincher part was similar to that of the actual cincher.  I attached the two components using key rings and ribbon.  The actual belt part was a singled ribbon that was glued to the cincher part and wrapped around the body to tie to the key ring on the other side of the armoured portion.

Bracer - The bracer was a bit tricky to draft out, mostly because my friend's arm is a lot shorter than my own so I couldn't use my arm as a reference for the pattern.  It was made from EVA foam and has gold ribbon attachments that just tie around the arm.  To make it stay in place, industrial double sided tape was used to fix it to the skin.

Knee Armour - The knee armour was fun to make simply because of the intersting shapes I had to cut out from the foam.  They are held up with elastics in the back to prevent them from slipping down the boot covers.

Completed armour pieces
Sword - This was my first time making a sword so it was a large learning curve for me.  I started out with a wooden dowel and insulation foam as a base for the blade.  The base for the hilt was made using expanding foam that was then carved out in the likeness of the artwork.  A couple of layers of papier mache were layed down, them it was primed with wood glue and gesso.  The blade was painted using spray paints while the hilt was hand painted using acrylics.  To finalize it a red ribbon was tied to it and draped carefully around the sword.

The sword hilt
Wig - I bought a cheap red wig off of Ebay for this cosplay, mostly because my friend was on a budget.  The wig turned out to be a little too small for her head which I thought was annoying.  We managed it nonetheless as we kept the hair a bit longer than it should have been to hide her natural hair colour underneath,

Completed Commission, Photo Credits to Another Exposure

Cornwall Photo Shoot + Coticon 2015 Journal

This year I was able to attend two of the events organized by the Coticon committee!  The first event was scheduled in early summer and was a complete outdoor event.  Thank goodness we had great weather!  It was a photo shoot type of event, where cosplayers and photographers mingled and had lots of fun derpy moments together,  I was cosplaying as Mew Zakuro and I attended the event with my good friends Bandit Spurs (casual photographer), Tsuki no StarDust (Masked Lumen and Father Balder) and Tattered Tartan (kilt wearing photographer).

Mew Zakuro, Photo Credits to Cyberfox007 Photography
Upon arrival I was greeted by a cute little Alice cosplayer (Pandora Hearts) who was so happy that I was cosplaying as a Mew.  I'm pretty sure I made her day!  Anniechie of course was running around being an organizer and a cosplayer (Esmerelda) at once.  Luckily organizing a photo shoot day doesn't need a whole lot of supervision so she was able to partake in some of the photo shoots that happened.  We spent the whole afternoon at the event, made some new friends and enjoyed a few derpy moments.

Cosplay Friends!
The second event that I attended was the actual convention Coticon 2015.  Unfortunately due to my family having a last minute gathering the same day I could only attend for half of the day.  I wore my Sakura Hime cosplay that day and surprisingly I didn't die of the heat, which is saying something as the convention was held in late August!  The morning started off with Bandit Spurs, StarDust and I giving a cosplay 101 panel.  It was my second panel that I've done but it was my first time being the lead of the panel.  I think we did pretty well since we got an applause at the end of it!

Bandits, StarDust and I giving the Cosplay 101 Panel
Right after the panel I joined up with Tsuki no StarDust, SawakoMio and Mizuki and Pheli for a huge Tsubasa photo shoot!  We had lots of fun setting up the photos with the massive chair and derping around.  All too soon I had to change and leave in order to get back to my parent's place for the family gathering.  It was great fun, even if I didn't get to hang around all that much!  I look forward to next year's Coticon and who knows, maybe I'll even make a more specialized cosplay panel!

SawakoMio and I as Twin Sakuras

Monday, 7 September 2015

Link

Bandit Spurs and I wanted to do a Legend of Zelda skit as a masquerade performance but we needed a Link to complete the skit.  My boyfriend Corey graciously stepped in and we totally rocked it!  I made the majority of the costume for him while he focused mainly on the sword.

Construction:

Shirt - The shirt pattern was made by taking apart an old T-shirt at the seams and lengthening the sleeves.  It was made from a white knit fabric and quite easy to assemble.  The mandarin collar was the trickiest to make since it needed to stand up and the fabric was not very stiff.  I used a very stiff interfacing inside it which caused all sorts of sewing problems but I managed to work it out.

Assembling the shirt
Tunic - The tunic pattern was the same pattern as the shirt except it was longer and and inserts added just below the waist in the front and back for added maneuverability.  The collar was a strange shape which I had to play around with for a while.  The final shape I opted for was a typical collar shape with a slightly larger rectangle added underneath.  The whole tunic was underlined because the green material I had bought for it was rather thin and sheer.  The final length of it reached to above Corey's knees while the sleeves were above the elbows.  Belt loops were added along the waist to allow the belt to sit nicely in place.

Collar pattern


Leggings - I had to figure out how to make leggings that would be comfortable for a guy.  I followed the same directions as I would for the leg portion, then added a "pouch" in the front crotch.  They were made using the same white fabric as the shirt.

Male Leggings
Boot Covers - I used a brown vinyl for the main portion of the boot covers and scrap light brown leather for the top cuff.  I took a couple of measurements around his shoe, then drafted a pattern from them, giving room for errors.  The covers were designed to go over his shoes and to be held down with elastics.  A zipper was inserted into the backs of each.  Scrap brown leather was sewn to the boot covers underneath the cuff and adorned with a buckle.

Base of the boot covers
Gloves - As with all my gloves, I had to form a pattern.  I made Corey wear a latex glove which then I taped up and cut him out of.  I tweaked the pattern to include seam allowances and ease then went on to making mock ups.  The real gloves were made from brown leather and all hand sewn.  The finger tips were cut off at to reveal the fingers and the edges were finished with a blanket stitch.

Bracers - The shape of the bracers was really quite simple; a long rectangle with a little square piece in the middle on top. Little square holes were cut out of the rectangular part to allow the glove underneath to peak through.  They were made of brown vinyl and only comprised of one seam.  I didn't bother finishing the edges of the holes but the longer exposed edges were turned under and hemmed.

Cut out bracer
Wig - I used the Jaguar wig in ginger blonde from Arda wigs as the base.  The bangs and back of the wig were trimmed to get the right cut of Link's hair.  The bangs were further styled with heat, teasing the hair at the base and hairspray to get the winged bang look that OOT Link has.

Styling the bangs
Hat - Link's hat was made using the same green fabric as the tunic.  It was comprised of the triangle piece and the cuff.  The triangle piece was sewn to create a cone shape, which was then sewn to the cuff.  The cuff was lined to give it stability.  It was made to fit over the wig while Corey was wearing it and it stays in place with some bobby pins and clips.

Belts - Link has two belts, on that carries the sword and shield on his back, the other to wrap around his waist.  I bought the one that wrapped around his waist but made the cross belt.  I took a long strip of vinyl, folded over the edges and hemmed them.  The pattern on the belt was made by sewing lines at intervals along the length of the belt.  The buckle was attached to the belt through an eyelet and the holes were made sturdy with even more eyelets.

Props - My main prop focus was the shield while Corey worked on the sword.  I helped him come up with the pattern for it, then cut out the shapes, carved some of them and glued them together.  The shield is made of cardboard, craft foam and pieces of EVA foam, with Worbla covering it.  The Worbla was primed using a spray filler, then spray painted black.

Adding the Painter's Tape
Most of the colours were spray painted on, the silver being the first, then the blue background.  When we were spraying one colour, only the surfaces that were supposed to be that colour were exposed, the rest were covered by painter's tape.  I painted the details on using a stencil and normal acrylic paint.  We sealed the entire thing with some clear acrylic sealer then added the vinyl backing on with lots of patience and hot glue!

Completed Costume

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Princess Zelda

My friend Lisa from school really wanted me to make her the twilight Princess Zelda costume for her.  This was my first armour project so it was both terrifying and interesting at the same time!  I'm really glad that I made this though since I now have the confidence to make more armoured costumes in the future!

Construction:

Dress - The dress was made using McCall's pattern M4491, view A.  It was made out of a medium weight white satin.  I had to make modifications to the dress once the parts were put together since the pattern didn't fit Lisa all that well.  The bottom of the dress was edged in a burgundy trim in two forms; the plain strip and the crisscrossing pattern.  The plain border was made out of a cotton bias hem while the crisscrossing pattern was made using two rolls of burgundy satin faced ribbon.  The ribbon was first laid out in one layer, then the second layer that completed the look was sewn on after.  The corners are all continuous ribbon, each having been folded and pinned in place prior to sewing.

Sewing the ribbon
The silver pattern along the hem of the dress was created using a stencil made from heavy drawing paper and silver acrylic paint.  The stencil was drawn out on the folded paper and then cut out using a craft knife.  Keeping it folded while cutting kept the pattern symmetrical.  When it was time to paint the pattern, the stencil was pinned to the dress and a piece of cardboard was placed under the painting area to prevent the paint from soaking through and touching the table.  A sponge brush was used to tap the paint into the stencil.  This was done eight times to complete the hem design.

One stencil done
Tunic - The pattern for the tunic was created using the same one for the dress but modified to fit the specific shape of the hem.  It was made out of a purple crushed velvet and attached to the dress along the neckline, shoulders and back opening.  The lace up part of the dress was attached to the back of the dress over the tunic and this was made out of the tunic fabric.  The white design along the edge was mimicked by adding a white wavy trim.

Tunic
Gloves - Lisa doesn't like having her hands covered especially during the summer months so we opted for gloves that only covered her arms, which technically makes them arm socks.  They were made out of a white spandex for the main part and blue spandex for the upper trim.  The silver designs were painted on while she was wearing them with acrylic paint to prevent the paint from cracking.

Pauldrons - The pauldrons were the scariest thing to attempt making from this costume.  I came up with several drawings of them before I decided on a pattern.  I made them using three main parts; the top of the pauldron, the "wing" and the little insert between the wing and the top.  I also had to make the center piece that lay between the pauldrons.  I had to play with the pieces a bit to get the right shape and size of each.  The final shapes were cut from EVA floor mats from the dollar store.  All the detailing were just strips of the EVA foam with the top edges cut to try and round it out.  The pieces were glued together using contact cement while the detailes were glued on with hot glue.  Some of the finer details such as those swirls on the top of the pauldrons were made by drawing them with hot glue.  The centerpiece was made out of craftfoam and the thicker EVA foam with expanded cut detail lines.

Unpainted pauldron
The jewels that are inlaid in each piece were glued on with hot glue once they were all assembled.  I covered the jewels with tape then painted a couple layers of gesso over them, then spray painted them black.  I spray painted a gold layer over the black then added highlights by hand.  The pauldrons were attached to the center pieces by means of rings and fabric ties.  Strips of black felt were cut and two strips were assigned to each ring which in turn was assigned to each attachment.  The felt pieces were wrapped around the rings and glue together.  The glue end of the felt was then glue to the inside of the pauldron pieces.  The whole assembly put on over the head since the attachments are all fixed.

Attachment of back plate
Belt - The belt in the source material has a distinctive 3D-ness to it and I wanted to portray that in my crafting.  I decided to use craftfoam for all of the pieces.  Each piece was patterned out, then glued together to create three dimensional objects.  Needless to say, all of the pieces turned out to be hollow.  They were primed with white glue and gesso, then spray painted a base coat of black before moving onto the gold paint.  The highlights were added afterwards with a paintbrush and white acrylic paint.  The belt pieces attach to each other the same way as the pauldrons.  They are also attached to a chain and clasp in the back.

Painted belt pieces
Tabard - The tabard was made using the same white satin as the dress.  Lisa was in charge of drawing the design since she wanted to help in the making of the dress. Once the pattern was drawn out, I started painting the gradients.  The green has a gradient with five different shades of green while the blue has seven shades.  The gradient was painted slowly, with the different shades layering over each other to blend it together.  The fine details were painted last.  Once it was all dry, it was cut from the fabric and the edges were fray checked.  Two eyelets were inserted into the top corners so that it could be attached to the belt.

Painting the blue gradient
Crown - The crown was also made with craftfoam and a wire base.  The pieces were detailed with hot glue and primed with white glue and gesso.  A black under-layer was spray on, followed by a gold over-layer and finally little highlights and shadows were handed by hand.

Completed costume

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Saber Maid

My boyfriend Corey showed me a photo of the Saber maid figure and since it was too cute, I just had to make it!  I love Saber's character and I do plan on making more of her outfits :D

Construction:

Dress - The dress was the scary thing to make since it is backless.  This was the first dress that I ever wore that didn't have a back to it!  Naturally because of the strange design, I had to hand draft a pattern for it.  I split the dress into two parts: the bodice and the skirt.  I made the skirt a full circle skirt.  I used the bodice from the hobbit dress that I made as my base of modified it to fit the neckline and the low back.  The dress was made using a light navy blue satin.  The bodice is lined with the same navy satin with an old bra hand sewn inside to provide "some" support.

Dress Bodice
The lining for the skirt is separate and acts as the underskirt.  It was made using a heavier white satin and edged in a crocheted triangular trim.  The dress closes in the back with a small invisible zipper.  The sleeves were made using the sleeve pattern from the same hobbit dress with a modification on the size of the puff.  The cuffs were hand drafted and close with hooks and eyes.  The final detail that was added was the ruffles around the neckline.  They were made using the heavier white sating and since the gathering stitches broke before I could gather it all together, I opted for pleated them to fit the neckline.

Forming the Pleats
Apron - The apron was made using a white poly cotton fabric.  It was had drafted, the main part being made from a weird rectangular/oval shape.  I had the gather it along all four sides separately to try and get the puffy shape that the figure has.  The ruffles were made using two long strips of varying widths fold in half and gathered.  The tie was also made from a long strip of fabric folded over itself.  I added some vintage lace as an edging around the inner most ruffles to sort of embellish the apron a tad.
Base for Apron
Stockings - The stockings were made using the same white poly cotton fabric as the apron.  Two rectangular strips of fabric were cut for each stocking; one piece acted as the back of the stocking to which the elastic was sewn to while the other was the front.  The front piece was slit in intervals to allow for the blue ribbon to pass through.  Ruffles and lace were sewn to the top and bottom of the stocking cuff, which was then sewn onto black nylon stockings.

Stocking cuffs
Wig - The wig was purchased pre-styled from ebay.  Once I received it, I had to make some slight modifications to it such as adding the blue bow on the bun and making the antenna.  The antenna was made using fabric glue and lots of hairspray.

Accessories - This costume had quite a a few accessories to complete it, namely the headband, collar and cuffs.  The headband was made using a rectangular piece of fabric, folded over itself and interfaced.  I added rows of lace along it to embellish it before sewing it to the purchased, fabric covered headband.  The collar was made from a long strip of poly cotton, much in the same way as the stocking cuffs were made (without the elastic though).  It was kept open ended with excess ribbon to be able to tie a bow and thus close the collar around my neck.

Collar
The cuffs were simply rectangles of material sewn together with a layer of interfacing inside.  The "buttons" were made using googly eyes from the dollar store that were painted black.  Lace edging was also applied to the cuffs and they close with small bits of velcro.

Shoes - Her shoes are black Mary Janes but unfortunately they are really hard to find in my size so I just substitued a pair of black pumps that I already owned.

Completed Costume