|Time Taken :||1 month|
|One of my favourite costumes! Lightning Returns was both fun and a pain to make but turned out quite nicely....even if I did make a couple of alterations! Unfortunately on the day, it wasn't my costume that failed me but my boots. I did decide to make this as soon as I saw it when the game hadn't even come out, I loved the design but I think I have a thing for leather and armour, also a fantastic excuse to be my favourite Final Fantasy character for a day!|
I'll explain how everything was made as best I can, but this used a range of different techniques varying from piece to piece:
The armour on my knees was made out of cardboard papier mache, which was spray painted red, and then the lighter sections were painted in acrylics. They are held on with elastic for easy movement. The details (things that act like stockings) are made from leather, and then hand painted with acrylics. They are held on with two separate straps with hooks and eyes, and also a hook that atattaches to the belt to keep them up. I added a red piece of material to my boots to give them a bit more of a similar look to Lightning's and coordinate with the rest of the costume, and I wear shorts instead of what she wears in the game, simply because I'm more comfortable with them.
The skirts (or whatever they are!) Were sewn on the machine from a simple pattern I made myself, the pockets are functional...they're good for keeping peoples leaflets and business cards in at a con! They were then hand sewn to the bottom of the belt, which I made myself and attached to the main belt, and this piece was painted black (leather was actually grey, it saves time and money just to paint it). Those little clips that appear to be holding the skirt on are made from air drying clay and hand painted, they attatch like buttons.
The armoured plate is also cardboard papier mache, covered in leather then painted black. It fastens with Velcro and hooks. The top underneath it fastens with one Velcro strap and is mainly backless, it was made from leather, painted black and with no pattern (I don't recommend that), the collar attaches separately with Velcro. I sewed the top to the cape so that it held itself up without extra fastening, the cape attaches at the side of the top with more Velcro (I went through loads of that stuff making this). The cape was made again from my own simple pattern (also, as you can see, both the skirts and cape are lined in red) and hand sewn to the shoulders of the top to get the gathers. The collar was hand sewn because it is layered over paper to give it enough stiffness to stand upright. I also have Lightning's necklace, which was intended to be made out of wire, and ended up being made the night before the con out of tinfoil! It held together though!
The shoulder armour was made in a similar way to the knee armour, painted black and then detail painted in acrylics, they are held on with elastic around the arm, under the arm, and then across the back, under the cape. The sleeves are made out of spray painted leather with Velcro straps and were attached to an old pair of tights to keep them from moving around, made to work effectively like a full glove, the armoured bits were made from clay and painted, they too attatch to the costume like buttons. My gloves were bought...I'm not that talented.
Wig was brown and sprayed pink, because I'm a cheapskate. It probably would have worked better with blonde. I also painted the frames of a pair of sunglasses
My favourite part of this costume would be the weaponry! The Crimson Blitz (sword) was made out of stiff cardboard, layered and papier mached within an inch of its life, and then spray painted and hand painted on the details. The material means its nice and swishy light, as well as being very con-safe. The Night Lotus (shield) is actually moveable like in the game, involving Velcro and leather straps. It was also made from cardboard papier mache and spray painted, then detail painted (including the crocodile skin bit, which I'm very proud of) by hand in acrylics. The black details were made from thin card and hand painted. The harness that holds it on my arm was made from old blets from my Lulu supply! Note that I did indeed make an alteration here, based on a concept drawing of how the shield looks when deflecting an enemy attack, I decided to paint on that pattern on the black parts.
Overall I am very proud of this, although it does clearly still need some work. I did have a little trouble at the con with it but that was mainly my boots (the sole randomly came off). I also had to re-sellotape the black details on the shield, but they were finished the night before the con and had to be attached quickly, and I had to re-sew a couple of pieces of Velcro by lunch but I did apparently underestimate how many stitches would hold it when it was first made. I do have to point out that it really is not a comfortable costume (probably something to do with my great idea of armour methods for that leather plate, it holds you straight like a corset without the organ crushing), I had trouble sitting down in it and those great dynamic poses Lightning pulls in the posters? Yes, they're impossible! On the whole though, worth the effort!
Possible alterations post completion:
-New wig, this one sheds too much and isn't the right colour
-Wire/cardboard strengthening of shield details, and re attatch them with superglue
-Change length of arm straps to accommodate gloves, and maybe a new strap somewhere to hold up the sleeves a little better
-Make a better replica of Lightning's sunglasses
|make leather belt||High||Complete|
|armour and sew top, attatching to cape and fastenings at side||High||Complete|
|sculpt clay details and create sleeves||High||Complete|
|sculpt and strengthen sword, shield, and knee/shoulder armour and paint||High||Complete|
|buy wig, style and spray pink||High||Complete|
|add boot details||Medium||Complete|
|maybe buy some leather gloves to replace velvet ones||Low||Complete|
|make necklace using wire||Low||Complete|
|blonde curly wig, side parted||£7.00||Bought|
|new wig||£10.00||To Buy|
|boots repair||£5.00||To Buy|
|hooks and eyes||£0.20||To Buy|
updating costume for next con (Posted 28th June 2014)
-Find new way to attatch pauldrons as elastic shows up awfully on photographs (poppers/Velcro/hooks?)
Perhaps make better sunglasses