Dragon Knights

Cosplayer: Amy-Lou

Variant: Fairy Dress

Status: In Progress

Condition: Not Set

12th August 2012: Staff Begins If the staff didn't need such a huge ball I'd consider resin casting it, but hollow is best in this case, so I bought a wooden pole and two part acrylic sphere. Using the dremel I drilled a hole in the bottom of the sphere for the pole and any electronics to fit into.

I did a lot of testers on smaller spheres with combinations of sanding and glass paints to get a nice glow, but in the end I've decided to leave it un-sanded and glass paint the inside in layers.
Bonus of this is that the paint can't be scratched off, it'll be protected inside the sphere and the outside will have a perfectly smooth surface.

Things I learnt from the testers:
-Glass paint crazes (bubbles up) if you try to paint another layer on later no matter how long you leave it to dry, so get it right first time. Bubbling is worst on areas of thicker paint.

-Though sanding the acrylic looks rough and cloudy, glass paint fills in the ruts and can make it clear and transparent again (defeating the point), so best to sand inside, paint outside if you want to keep it opaque.

-Glass paint can be cleaned off with white spirit, but this also clouds up the acrylic plastic, damaging the surface, BEWARE. The surfacing effect of glass paint mentioned above can also make this damage transparent again, but that's when you realise there are white spirit fingerprints on the outside too...

21st March 2012: First Outing Had everything wearable in time for Minami, but there's still more work to be done.

I made a place holder front panel for the skirt on the evening before the con as I only have exactly enough grey fabric left to do this once and I was running out of time. I ended up wrapping the string fabric like a scarf on the day, so that needs finishing properly and I'd also like to poof up and shorten the fringe, so I can see!

I might finish the boot covers, but I really like those patterned tights Kat found for us... Should make them and see what it looks like at least :)

Lastly I really want to have her staff for the next outing, so looking into methods for that!

13th March 2012: Finished Top Wooo!

I pinned the outer layer down to the lining and trimmed it off to the same shape around the bottom. Then instead of hemming it up, I sewed them flat together and covered the rough edges with thin bias binding.

The neckline has an irregular scalloped edge, so I found a nice lace trim with flowers and leaves that would give a similar outline and tacked it on top.

28th February 2012: Wig Splicing I hand sewed a section of fringe from Kat's Lim wig leftovers into the purple curly wig I'd bought, they fit pretty neatly thanks to the layout of the base wig wefts. I didn't even have to remove any purple from the front, it's bulking out the new fringe.

Just need to trim it up to a length I can see through.

27th February 2012: Cowl I was always planning to peel the shredded jersey off the net backing, but Kat suggested shredding the backing to get a two tone look. I tried using a craft knife but the net was so stretchy it was actually easier and cleaner to use scissors in the end.
I love the effect, but now I'm not sure which way up matches best - lighter or darker topside?

24th February 2012: Top Second Layer Once the base was finished I could make the outer layer of the top to fit.
The bust is made of the same fabric as the skirt double layered over plain black cotton to stabilise it. The body is a washed satin that Kat has made her Lim dress from, we thought it would be nice to link the two costumes with little similarities. Sadly creases stay as marks in this fabric, should come with a warning to only ever store on a roll.

In the pic the straps aren't secured yet, I need to fix them in place and then trim up the bottom to match the hemline of the lining underneath. May have to tack the top down to the lining along the seams to keep everything lying neatly.

18th February 2012: The Top Returns So Cesia failed to make it to Aya (as did all planned costumes) as the organisation for the event itself took priority. Now over 6 months later it's time to continue, don't worry I still love you Cesia :D

Moving on from the original mockup I've made the interfaced and boned lining for the top with hook and eye fastening up the back. In the picture I've marked off where the bottom hemline will be and ironed it in. Because the lining and top fabrics are very different types I think with this pointed front shape it will be best to hem this now, trim it off and tack the top layer down to it later, rather than sewing the two layers together top and bottom and turning inside out.

I also need to tweak the side seams a little as shortening the bodice has revealed that the waist was a little big, though it sat nicely on the hips when it was longer.

28th July 2011: Skirt Continued Back on the skirt I used inch wide elastic as the waistband for easy gathering. Stretching the elastic I sewed on the patterned top layer and then the plain base layer.

Once it was all anchored I made the corners pointier by cutting curves into the straight edges before bias binding the whole lot. I've found the tiniest petticoat on eBay to poof it out and I'm so happy with how smart the bias looks!

22nd July 2011: More Sleeves The sleeves and linings are joined and pressed. Annoyingly I changed my hem size to suit the frills and this means my half circles to sit in the sleeve split don't fit anymore. I'll have to do another set (argh, circular rolled hems are a pain).

Despite that I like how they're turning out. I've got white silicone tape to put in the top so they grip my arm and some really pretty silver/black buttons for the cuffs.

18th July 2011: Frilly Sleeves The sleeve linings are plain cotton with the crepe frills gathered onto the end using my overlocker's gathering attachment. These are the times I appreciate my rolled hem foot as it makes edging long strips like these so neat and much quicker!

My ref image contains two different designs for the sleeve frills and I spent a long time deciding which I preferred. One falls long in the split like an under sleeve, the other continues the short frills up the forearm. I'm not keen on the exposed arm look when you don't have your arms bent, so I'm going to insert a half circle of crepe fabric in the sleeve split to fill that gap.

16th July 2011: Sleeves I used the sleeves from the same jacket pattern I used for Luise with that nice flared shape.

The base sleeve is a pretty stretch-less stretch suiting. I needed something plain to contrast with the patterned black fabric without matching the soft crepe of the frills.

Laying the black edging over the top as applique seemed the best approach, but I made the mistake of cutting the shape before ironing on the interfacing. Flimsy fabric like this warps like crazy and when I finally pinned it down they didn't quite match anymore, so I had to tweak some seams. I've ended up with a parallel trim instead of tapered, next time fabric, next time!

9th July 2011: Necklace It would seem drop pendants aren't too popular. I tried searching for 'tear drop', 'rain drop', 'pear drop', 'droplet', and only found one seller with anything bigger than a pea! Thankfully one seller was all I needed and I got these lovely clear beads with settings too.

I decided to take the simple route and nail varnish the back as it's only slightly rounded and will generally lie flat all the time, plus I'd found this lovely shimmery red varnish which I liked more than the idea of red resin.

It gives a really nice finish as the colour fills the shape from any angle because of the way light is bent in the clear bead and lots of light gets in from the front with the nice shiny surface untouched.

2nd July 2011: Starting the Skirt The handkerchief skirt pattern is a big square with a circle cut out of the centre (it's folded to a quarter in the picture). I've made the circle double my waist size so I can gather it to the waistband as a much fuller skirt and there are two of these square layers which I offset to get 8 spikes all the way round. The top layer is patterned, the bottom one plain (I like how the contrast breaks up all the fabric).

Currently looking at short petticoats on eBay to poof it up, but I could also add boning down the undeside of each corner spike to keep them up. I'll wait untill I've seen it with the petticoat to decide.

2nd July 2011: Earrings I had lots of beads left over from my forest ballgown in just the various sizes needed. I think the green will go nicely with the purple wig without blending in and being lost from view. I already had a pack of earring hooks and I used some thin jewellery wire to string them all together.

26th June 2011: Starting the Top I dug through my pattern box and decided that for this top I could alter my Queen Serenity pattern which conveniently has an underbust seam already.
The photo is my mockup where I've chopped it from a dress to a top, lowered the under-bust seam to be less of a point and added the plunge neckline. Next step is to draft the straps and then I can cut the final fabric.

14th June 2011: Rare Fabric Win I have been looking around for anything like the netting round her neck with little success. There were lots of laces, but all with very regular repeating patterns or just too busy, nothing with that stringy look.

I was planning to give Shepards Bush one last rummage this weekend and failing that knot knitting wool (urgh please no). Then today on a desperate hope I typed every word I could think of into google and ebay and lo, 'shredded' was the winner as this fabric popped up. Sure there's the regular joining pieces, but it's got that stringy look and it's viscose so I could cut a few of the joins out and it won't fray, maybe tangle the odd one to make it more irregular too.

I'll see how dark the grey is and if it goes with the other fabrics. If not I'll dye it black.

10th June 2011: Breakdown I've been looking at the dress design and decided that the best way to make this work will be to split it as a double layered handkerchief style skirt that fastens at the front and a bodice that laces up the back with a panel hanging off the front over the skirt. I may need to add a couple of poppers round the outside of the waistband to hold the top in line with the skirt.

7th June 2011: Plotting and Wigs I scoured ebay for a nice curly (or curlable) wig, the big catch being I have to splice a different colour fringe on, so I wanted to avoid point top styles and full skin tops. This turned up perfect wigs in every colour but purple and in the end I went with gut instinct on a cheap wig that didn't quite look point top. When it arrived I found it was actually a nicely parted skin top up to the fringe which was normal wefting in forward facing rows, absolutely perfect!

Kat has ordered two wigs to make Lims choppy hair with long plaits, so the plan is for me to take the fringe from the one she's cutting up. It's a darker pink/red than the ref, but I think it will look fine with this vibrant purple.

6th June 2011: Hair Ref The cast gets so many different hair colours I could probably do whatever I liked, but here's the ref I used for my choice anyway :)

5th June 2011: Fabric A trip to Shepherds Bush turned up these two beautiful fabrics. I wasn't sure which I liked more, so I bought both and I'm now thinking that I might use the black for the main dress and the red for the front panel which is lighter in the refs.

The black fabric is a very fine cotton with a subtle pattern, it's too thin to work on it's own and hold those spikes, so I plan to layer it over cheap plain black cotton. The red is two tone with sheen that's very thick and heavy, but drapes like silk. As you can see in the picture (top without flash, bottom with flash) the look changes quite a bit on the camera. The other option could be a grey washed satin Delusional is using for Lim which would match us up a bit more.

I don't have to decide just yet, thankfully. I'm going to mock the dress up in cheap cotton first so I don't waste any of the good stuff.

kirokitsune avatar

kirokitsune - 14th June 2011
Eee! Can't wait to see this! Been re-reading lots of the manga recently and so psyched to get Rath done! Will be so nice to see lot's of lovely DK cosplay

Sephirayne avatar

Sephirayne - 3rd July 2011
Very cool. Can't wait to see.

Nocturnal Blossom avatar

Nocturnal Blossom - 4th August 2011
THE RIDICULOUS HAIR! Which colour way did you decide to go for??
Also loving that you're doing the Battle Makeover dress...Lim is such a pimp!

Donna avatar

Donna - 16th September 2011
Amy I really must thank you for taking the time to write journal entries. I find yours and Lex's so useful, there is so much to be learnt from the doing process. I'm also happy at how popular Dragon Knights seems to be with cosplayers this year (I do love my old anime!)

Ranma1-2 avatar

Ranma1-2 - 3rd April 2012
Gorgeous costume Amy. I read all your journal entries - full of very interesting and helpfull stuff and great to see the details up close to appreciate them. :)