Angelphie
 


Costume :Fighter
Variant :Concept art for Le Rouge/Le Noir
Source :Granado Espada
Progress :Complete
Worn At :Amecon 2012


Costume Photos

Fighter

Fighter

Fighter

Fighter

Fighter

Fighter

Fighter

Fighter

Fighter

Fighter

Fighter

Reference

 


Costume Information

General
Cost : Too much
Time Taken : Too long

Description
I love the artwork from Granado Espada/Sword of the New World/Sword 2/whateverit'scallednow and after browsing through all the costumes, I eventually settled on this one. Just to be awkward, it seems to be concept art for Le Rouge (formerly Le Noir) female fighter costume, but I prefer it over the final in-game version. I still referred to the in-game costume for ideas for the back etc. but I primarily stuck to the artwork alone. I rushed to finish this in time for AmeCon 2012 and need to fix it up properly, but I was pleased to get it wearable.

The skirt has a white polycotton layer underneath - a simple gathered rectangle with a roll-hemmed ruffle at the hem. I also wore the circular petticoat from my Alice Elliot costume which is made from the same fabric. The next skirt layer is a gathered rectangle of gold satin, the less-shiny reverse side up since I tend to prefer more matte fabrics. Where it’s visible in the gaps between the topmost panels, I put in narrow pleats to make the gathering more prominent. The uppermost panels are dupioni silk. I applied black and brown suedette and sewed on the bias binding by hand for an invisible finish. I made the bias tape from the same satin as the skirt (about 25m of the stuff on the whole costume), but using the shiny side facing up for a little bit of a contrast. The centre gold diamond shape is appliquéd. Until I looked closely, I thought the brown parts were a belt on top of the skirt, but they’re split across the panels too, so I had to sew on the brown suedette before applying the bias tape and make sure it all lined up. The brown sections are topstitched in gold thread. I made the back of the skirt identical to the front, since I had nothing else to go on. It’s finished with a waistband and given all the layers of fabric, the closure is a simple overlapping placket which lets me keep the layers separate.

I used Butterick 6195 for the bodice and made a mock-up in black cotton drill which I adapted to match the design. Although the bodice looks as though it's meant to fasten at the front, I decided having a closure there would be too complicated with all the cord in the way so the actual closure is lacing down the back. At the centre front I have a small strip of white fabric joining the two halves which hopefully blends into the shirt underneath and makes it look like it’s magically sitting in place. The mock-up worked out well so I was able to use it as the lining, then there's a layer of coutil for support and the outer fabric is the suedette used elsewhere on the costume. I inserted flat steel boning between the coutil and lining, ensuring no stitching showed on the outside. I made gold piping to insert into the seams and made the designs at the waist using the gold satin and bias binding, applied by hand. The other decoration is gold cord, studs and turquoise earrings which were a lucky find in Claire's Accessories.

For the gold trim at the edges of the bodice, I made paper templates, drew out the design then traced it on to Ultra Solvy water soluble stabiliser. I sandwiched quilt wadding between two layers of gold satin, laid the Solvy over it and sewed over it following the lines of the design. The edges are finished with bias tape and sewn to the bodice, all finished to look as seamless as possible by stitching in the ditch.

I bought a strapless bra and altered the centre front a bit, adding piping and gathering up netting to make the ruffles. I decided for the parts of the white undershirt which show, it'd be best take it in sections rather than make a whole shirt thing and try to get it to sit correctly. I rolled hemmed and gathered fabric then experimented with draping it, and finally hand sewed the pieces to the bra and the lining of the bodice. The bodice is also hand sewn to the bra to keep the front opening in place.

I made a basic high-collared top from the black suedette as a base to attach the sleeves/armour/cape to. It fastens with a separating zip down the back. There’s gathered white polycotton sewn under the arms which tucks into the bodice. For the beading at the sides of the neck, I drew out the designs on to my good friend Solvy, pinned that in place and beaded over it using gold, blue and brown seed beads. I mirrored the design for the back which you can't see in the reference.

The sleeves were far more time-consuming than I expected. The black top sections have gold quilted sections done the same way as on the bodice. For the diamond shaped sections, I needed to ensure the pieces were lined which was a little tricky with the quilt wadding in there. I had to make the ribbed white fabric which took forever sewing in allllll the seams. Adding on the black band and all the gold bias tape took quite a while as well since I was continuing to finish the binding without topstitching in various ways - either by hand, stitching in the ditch, sewing it right sides together as an insert between two sections, or when all else failed, wundaweb. The gold ruffle at the hem was applied by hand. The sleeves are sewn to the top at the shoulder, but I ended up making them half sleeves, so there’s a gap under my arms to help with manoeuvrability – every little helps, especially with the ridiculous armour design.

For the armour, I cut two layers of craft foam at once to make sure they were identical, and cut the raised trim at the edges from the second layer. This was really fiddly for the finer detail on the middle piece, but I think it was worth the effort. I used black netting for the zigzags around the heart opening and strung together the beads. For those ridiculous boob antlers, I used Wonderflex since I needed something a bit more rigid than foam. I experimented with the shape to get something that I could attach to the top and have it stay in place fairly securely. Rather than spending ages smoothing the surface out, I stuck craft foam over it which also gives it more of the thickness as shown in the artwork. I inserted grommets to thread the cord though which connects to the cape. The armour was all spray painted silver then antiqued with black acrylic. The front of the top was cut to shape and hemmed to allow for the armour layout, then the armour is all hot glued on.

The cape is a simple half-circle made from a double-layer of white polycotton, lined with silver. There's gold trim at the hem and I painted a design on the back which I took from the in-game references. I put in grommets to thread through the silver cord from the armour at the front, but it's really secured with snaps.

I chose a thick white stretch jersey for the stockings and blue jersey for the lower sections. There are net stockings sewn on top of the blue parts and the purple ribbon is hand sewn in place. I couldn’t find any suitable ribbon, so painted some pink taffeta ribbon I had with acrylic. The detail at the tops is black suedette, gold bias binding and the zig-zags are cut from felt, backed with fine black netting to keep the triangular cutouts in place. I’ve sewn in the tops from a pair of hold-ups which mostly kept the stockings up – so long as I wasn’t wearing tights. The gold designs for the front were sketched out, traced on to the fabric in water soluble pen then painted with gold fabric paint, a fabric pen to help with the finer lines and add in a different shade of gold, and a brown permanent marker. The black garter is black stretch suedette sewn to a hold-up stocking top, with tightly gathered black netting at the edges.

I found a pair of knee high boots with a suitable heel on ebay, painted the heels and visible parts of the soles gold, cut them to shape and made covers from them from the black suedette. There's gold piping where the covers meet the sole and the covers are glued on to the base boots with Shoe Goo. The left boot has a strap at the ankle made from interfaced gold satin trimmed with bias binding and the rest is all strings of gold seed beads which took forever to string together. I was able to find circular buckles which I painted gold. For the gold tops, I made a quilted section from the gold satin. I transferred the painted design on the fronts by pricking and pouncing and had to do several coats of paint to get it to show up on the black fabric nicely.

I bought a pair of black suede gloves and made a section of black suedette lined with coutil to extend them into the right shape and figured out the appropriate seams to allow me to insert gold piping. Then there's bias binding for the trim and some gold studs. I used white polycotton for the rows of ruffles.

The wig is from Wigfashion on ebay.

The staff in some of my photos has absolutely nothing to do with Granado Espada; it's Zomboi's Loki staff (you can see his costume here: http://cosplayisland.co.uk/costume/view/61868) which I borrowed on the basis that it matched my costume and a prop doesn't go wrong. Worked out well - it's amazing how few people recognised it when it was taken out of context!

Comments

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Good choice using different golds, it makes such a difference.

by Amy-Lou on Monday, 16 July, 2012 - 10:04
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Gorgeous concept art, I'm sure you'll do this justice!

Those boots!

by Lulu Rose on Saturday, 28 July, 2012 - 22:43

This is looking fab, I now know about some of the wonderful things you can do with Solvy XD Looking forward to seeing it all come together at Ame!

by madmazda86 on Sunday, 5 August, 2012 - 21:19
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Look forward to seeing this and youself at Ame! I havnt seen thee in far too long D':

by Raine on Sunday, 5 August, 2012 - 22:00
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Loving all the progress shots, this looks as though it will be stunning!

by Tofu on Tuesday, 7 August, 2012 - 16:33
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This costume was so pretty! Even the boots of doom.

by Luki on Wednesday, 15 August, 2012 - 07:49
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Stunning. Really beautiful work as usual. x

by Teacup_Erinyes on Wednesday, 15 August, 2012 - 19:57
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Beautiful! I especially love the effects you got with quilting, super fiddly and all worth it :D

by Amy-Lou on Wednesday, 15 August, 2012 - 20:36
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Wow this is so pretty! Well done!

by Trifling on Thursday, 16 August, 2012 - 20:58
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The amount of detail in this is just jaw dropping! O8 I really loved your choice of fabrics and the amount of techniques you used throughout ^^ You look gorgeous!

by Pandora-Chi on Wednesday, 7 November, 2012 - 18:45
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You look so elegant! I didn't realise you were the same person who cosplayed Alice.. I'm going to admire your other beautiful creations

by Kei Lin Sama on Tuesday, 22 January, 2013 - 20:51
 

Journal

Gloves (Posted 9th August 2012)

I bought a pair of black suede gloves and used these as a base since I hate making gloves from scratch and these were surprisingly detailed and complex, so it helped to be able to work on everything from the wrist up separately.

I made a section of black suedette lined with coutil to extend them into the right shape and figured out the appropriate seams to allow me to insert gold piping. The drawing here does not make any sense - each glove is different and I've no idea how the gold is meant to go, so I came up with something which seemed suitable and would be easy enough to do. Then there's bias binding for the trim and some gold studs. I used white polycotton for the rows of ruffles.

I did this in a rush last night so they’re far from perfect – I didn’t really make them fit my wrists correctly and also forgot to allow for fitting them over my hands when patterning them out, so the ruffled section doesn’t taper into a v at the wrist as it should, and I needed to use velcro as a closure, but the main thing is I have some form of gloves and the costume is finished!

Boots (Posted 9th August 2012)

I found a pair of knee high boots with a suitable heel on ebay, painted the heels and visible parts of the soles gold, cut them to shape and made covers from them from the black suedette.

It took a bit of trial and error to get the covers right when using a non-stretch fabric and I had to insert zips. There's gold piping where the covers meet the sole and the covers are glued on to the base boots with Shoe Goo. The left boot has a strap at the ankle made from interfaced gold satin trimmed with bias binding and the rest is all strings of gold seed beads which took forever to string together. I was able to find circular buckles which I painted gold. For the gold tops, I made a quilted section from the gold satin.

Since I was dealing with black fabric this time, I transferred the painted design on the fronts by pricking and pouncing. First time I’d tried it and it’s really effective, but I did manage to get flour everywhere.

Update (Posted 9th August 2012)

Leaving for AmeCon in about 45 minutes! I finished the costume last night at about 10pm and spent this morning sorting everything out and packing. So relieved it all worked out in the end.

Stockings (Posted 6th August 2012)

I chose a thick white stretch jersey for the stockings and blue jersey for the lower sections. When looking for net stockings or tights to get the mesh from, I actually found a knee-high pair, which was perfect. Those are stitched on top and the purple ribbon is hand sewn in place. I couldn’t find any suitable ribbon, so painted some pink taffeta ribbon I had with acrylic.

The detail at the tops is black suedette, gold bias binding and the zig-zags are cut from felt, backed with fine black netting to keep the triangular cutouts in place. I’ve sewn in the tops from a pair of hold-ups to hopefully keep the stockings in place.

I sketched out the gold designs for the front, and used the same sort of approach as for the cape to trace the designs on to the fabric. I used fabric paint, a fabric pen to help with the finer lines and add in a different shade of gold, and a brown permanent marker.

The black garter is black stretch suedette sewn to a hold-up stocking top, with tightly gathered black netting at the edges.

Cape (Posted 6th August 2012)

The cape is a simple half-circle made from a double-layer of white polycotton, lined with silver for a bit of contrast. It's probably just meant to be white in shadow in the artwork, but I liked the idea of incorporating more silver to go with the armour. There's gold trim at the hem and I painted a design on the back which I took from the in-game references. I drew out half the design on paper, when I had it finalised, I went round the design in thick black felt tip pen. The ink soaks through the paper so I ended up with the design on both sides, meaning I could flip it over to have an identical mirrored half. I could then place my paper template underneath the cape and see it clearly enough through the white fabric to trace over it using a water soluble pen, then flip it and line it up to trace the other half. I put in grommets to thread through the silver cord from the armour at the front, but it's really secured with a few snaps at the back since that cord wasn't going to support anything, and the snaps allow it to be removeable so I can still take the top on and off using the zip down the back.

Armour (Posted 6th August 2012)

I'd already made a black suedette top which had the collar beading on it. I attached the sleeves to this and then had everything in place to pattern out the armour.

I cut two layers of craft foam at once to make sure they were identical, and cut the raised trim at the edges from the second layer. This was really fiddly for the finer detail on the middle piece, but I think it was worth the effort. I used black netting for the zigzags around the heart opening and strung together the beads. For those ridiculous boob antlers, I used Wonderflex since I needed something a bit more rigid than foam. I experimented with the shape to get something that I could attach to the top and have it stay in place fairly securely. Rather than spending ages smoothing the surface out, I stuck craft foam over it which also gives it more of the thickness as shown in the artwork. I inserted grommets to thread the cord though which connects to the cape. The armour was all spray painted silver then antiqued with black acrylic.

The front of the top was cut to shape and hemmed to allow for the armour layout, then the armour is all hot glued on. There seems to be gathered parts of the white shirt showing at the sides, so I added that on. The white fabric just tucks into the bodice and hopefully will stay in place ok.

Update (Posted 6th August 2012)

The end is in sight! Aside from minor touch-ups, everything is done except for the boots and gloves, and I’m fairly confident about finishing those too. The bootcovers are well underway and I’m planning on gluing them on to the base boots tomorrow, then getting any finishing touches sorted on Wednesday. All going to plan, I’ll start on the gloves as well. Since I’m only modifying an existing pair, it shouldn’t be too much trouble, and at least I can just wear the plain gloves as they are if I run out of time. I think I’ll have enough time though since I also have Thursday morning for last-minute sewing (and packing…) because my train to AmeCon isn’t until 3ish so I’m hoping to get it all done before I leave. Either that, or finish up with some handsewing on the train.

Sleeves (Posted 28th July 2012)

Adding on the black band and all the gold bias tape took quite a while as well since I was continuing to finish the binding without topstitching in various ways - either by hand, stitching in the ditch, sewing it right sides together as an insert between two sections, or when all else failed, wundaweb.

The gold ruffle at the hem was applied by hand. I initially made a roll-hemmed flounce, but it wasn't looking right, so it's just a gathered rectangle.

Sleeves (Posted 28th July 2012)

I had to make the ribbed white fabric which took forever. I settled on pleating since it also made the fabric thicker and more opaque, but just ironing in pleats in wouldn't be enough to make sure they stayed put and would be a pain for sewing everything else to, so I ended up sewing it all as seams and went slightly insane along the way.

Sleeves (Posted 28th July 2012)

The sleeves were far more time-consuming than I expected. The black top sections have gold quilted sections done the same way as on the bodice. For the little dots in the middle of the design, I ended up painted the tops of some jewellery pin things gold and embedding them. For the diamond shaped sections, I needed to ensure the pieces were lined which was a little tricky with the quilt wadding in there.

Photo shows one quilted section which has been stitched, and the other with the design traced on to the Solvy ready to do.

Bodice Trim (Posted 28th July 2012)

For the gold trim at the edges of the bodice, I made paper templates, drew out the design then traced it on to Ultra Solvy water soluble stabiliser. I sandwiched quilt wadding between two layers of gold satin, which I was careful to cut out as one continuous piece - I didn't want seams at the corners. I laid the Solvy over it and sewed over it following the lines of the design. The edges are finished with bias tape and sewn to the bodice, all finished to look as seamless as possible by stitching in the ditch.

Bodice (Posted 28th July 2012)

It was useful to already have the skirt done before working on the bodice so I could make sure it fitted over it correctly and was the right length.

I used Butterick 6195 for the bodice and made a mock-up in black cotton drill. I only had to cut it to the correct length and reshape the front a bit to allow for the flared opening. Although it looks as though it's meant to fasten at the front, in practice, having a closure there would be too complicated with all the cord in the way. Instead, I chose to have the actual closure as lacing down the back, continuing the psuedo-corset theme. I did look at the in-game design to see the back of the costume, but it's fairly plain, so having lacing down the back made it a bit more interesting.

As for the front opening, obviously a garment isn't going to magically sit in place like in the drawing when it's completely open all the way down the front, so I did need to do something to secure it. I didn't want to sew it completely closed in the middle though, so I have a small strip of white fabric joining the two halves. It should blend into the white shirt fabric underneath and give the impression of the bodice floating in place as in the art.

I used my mock-up for the lining, there's a layer of coutil for support and then the outer fabric is the suedette used elsewhere on the costume. I inserted flat steel boning between the coutil and lining, ensuring no stitching showed on the outside. I found that with the coutil, the bodice was doing ok on its own so I only have boning in the princess seams front and back. With the splits at the side seams I also didn't want to mess with boning there. I made gold piping to insert into the seams and made the designs at the waist using the gold satin and bias binding, applied by hand. The other decoration is gold cord, studs and turquoise earrings which were a lucky find in Claire's Accessories. I think there are maybe meant to be psuedo-buttonholes down one side of the front, but the drawing's not entirely clear and it seemed so ridiculous to pretend that that bodice was ever intended to close at the front, so I made it symmetrical with studs on both halves.

I bought a strapless bra and altered the centre front a bit, adding piping and gathering up netting to make the ruffles. I decided for the parts of the white undershirt which show, it'd be best take it in sections rather than make a whole shirt thing and try to get it to sit correctly. I rolled hemmed and gathered fabric then experimented with draping it, and finally hand sewed the pieces to the bra and the lining of the bodice. The bodice is also hand sewn to the bra to keep the front opening in place.

Update (Posted 28th July 2012)

I've reached the stage where I can definitely say the costume is going to be wearable at AmeCon in some form. Still finishing up the armour and other odds and ends, but I currently have almost everything complete except for the stockings, garter, boots and gloves. I've left those pieces until last since I have placeholders for them - I have the black knee-high boots and black suede gloves which I'm planning to adapt, and a pair of plain white stockings, so any of those can be worn as they are if necessary.

Skirt (Posted 15th July 2012)

Next thing I made was the skirt, it seemed like a useful starting point for going on to figure out other parts of the costume. I started off by establishing the point at which I absolutely couldn’t make the skirt any shorter, and from that, I could then see how long the stockings should be and therefore the size of the designs on them, and I could also fit the bodice to allow room for the skirt’s waistband plus get an idea of how far down it should extend.

I made a white polycotton layer first - just a gathered rectangle. It has a tightly gathered roll-hemmed ruffle at the hem to mimic the artwork. I stuck to polycotton here rather than attempting lace or any sort of scalloped hem finish since I wanted it to be consistent with the other white parts on the costume. If I need more floof to the skirt, I have a circular petticoat from my Alice Elliot costume which is made from the same fabric so that will match and then all that will ever show at the hem is heaps of the same ruffles. To continue that theme, I couldn’t resist buying really frilly pants to wear underneath 1. Because they’re wonderfully ridiculous and 2. if they do happen show under that stupidly short skirt, hopefully they’ll just blend in with all the petticoat ruffles.

The next skirt layer is a gathered rectangle of gold satin, reverse side up. Where it’s visible in the gaps between the topmost panels, I put in narrow pleats as well to make the gathering more obvious there. I stuck to plain old gathering for the skirts because I eventually determined it gave the effect I wanted of lots of narrow ripples in the fabric, rather than the deeper folds from flounces or other sorts of flared skirt shapes.

The uppermost layer is the dupioni silk. I first made newpaper templates to figure out the size these should be and experiment with how the shapes should flare out towards the hem. After cutting the final shapes out, I applied black and brown suedette and sewed on the bias binding I’d made to complete the designs. The centre gold diamond shape is appliquéd. Until I looked closely, I thought the brown parts were a belt on top of the skirt, but they’re split across the panels too, so I had to sew on the brown suedette before applying the bias tape and make sure it all lined up. The brown sections are topstitched in gold thread. I thought it might be cord at first, but it doesn’t really match the cord drawn elsewhere on the costume, and I liked the idea of some variety so went with the stitching. All the bias binding is sewn down by hand so everything is as seamless as possible.

I made the back of the skirt identical to the front, since I had nothing else to go on. It’s finished with a waistband and given all the layers of fabric, the closure is a simple overlapping placket which lets me keep the layers separate.

Photo shows the finished skirt just before the final step of sewing up the seam and sorting the closure.

Beading (Posted 15th July 2012)

Over Christmas I was able to finish the beaded sections for the shoulders. Not the most logical thing to do first, but I wanted to get the time-consuming hand sewing part out of the way when I had the time, and beading in front of the tv with all the films on over the Christmas holidays is the perfect time of year for it! I had to pattern out the black fabric parts of the top first to be able to bead it, but I only did the bare minimum at the stage - the top's not cut to shape yet; I'll be patterning out the armour and sleeves properly later. I just needed the fabric base to bead and enough of an idea of the armour shapes to be sure of the size of area I'd be beading.

I used an old shirt and drew on the armour shapes to roughly plan it out, then used the shirt as an approximate pattern to help make a kind of high-necked capelet shape out of black suedette which will be the basis for the top. It was a little tricky to get right at the neck since I only wanted side seams. It has a zip down the back which will be how this whole weird top/chest piece will eventually fasten.

For the beading, I drew out the designs on to Ultra Solvy water soluble stabiliser, pinned that in place and beaded over it using gold, blue and brown seed beads. I mirrored the design for the back which you can't see in the reference. It was ending up quite butterfly/insect like, so I went with that approach when planning out the design.

The photo shows the design folded in half which is how it shows in the reference art and then the full thing I ended up with on the left.

Fabric Choices (Posted 15th July 2012)

Choosing fabrics for this costume took me quite a while because there’s so much identical gold all over the costume, but all the pieces show up distinctly in the drawing e.g. the gold trim on the skirt panels is the exact same colour as the skirt beneath them, but because of how its drawn, the trim stands out clearly. I was worried that using identical fabric everywhere would cause it all to blend together too much, so I tried to vary things a bit.

I’ve ended up with 3 variations of gold fabric. I’m primarily using gold satin from John Lewis, the less-shiny reverse side up since I tend to prefer more matte fabrics. That forms the gold underskirt layer, all the decorative trim, the ruffly sleeve bits etc.

As the photo shows, I made my own bias tape from the same satin, but using the shiny side facing up. I felt if I was going to use the shiny side for anything, it should be the most unobtrusive thing. That approach ensures that the gold all matches, but where the bias tape is right next to identical gold fabric, there’s hopefully a little bit of a contrast between them.

Finally, for the skirt panels, they’re pictured as a darker shade. The way it’s drawn made me want to pick something either two-tone, very shiny and/or textured and I ended up finding dupioni silk which at least fits the textured part! It was £18 per metre from Edinburgh Fabrics *sobs*, but I only needed 40cm, so that worked out fine.

As for the other gold on the costume, I took a swatch of the satin with me when I went shopping and picked cord and paint to match it as closely as possible.

The black fabric is suedette, as are the brown parts hiding on the skirt.

I also spent a while debating how to do the gold detail parts on this costume. Applique, paint, quilting, bias tape… My main problem was I wanted to be consistent but I quickly gave up on that too since there’s not one technique which would work for everything. The fine detail on the boots and stockings has to be painted, but everything else is going to be trim and applique made from the same gold satin. I’m going to quilt the designs on to the decorative trim because in the art it seems raised and with the shadows involved, it wouldn’t have been such a straightforward painting job as for the boots/stockings where the designs are just a flat, single shade.

AmeCon (Posted 15th July 2012)

I'm attempting this in time for AmeCon...key word being "attempt" because I don't know how far I'm going to get. I started planning this costume ages ago so all my research is done and I've already bought almost everything I need to make it, I just need to get on with the making part. I've even made some bits already, but it kept getting set aside, so it's only now that I've set a deadline that I’ve been focussing properly on trying to finish it.