Kei Lin Sama

Costume :Hana
Variant :Oiran
Source :Gate 7
Progress :Complete
Worn At :London MCM Expo Comic Con May 2014

Costume Photos

Event Horizon Photography

Photo by N8e

James Glossop Photography

James Glossop Photography

Henry Purdie Photography

Photo at Japan Expo in Paris

Nert photo during the masquerade

Photoshoot with Paper-Cube

Primary reference

Tortoiseshell kanzashi reference


Costume Information

Cost : Qualifier costume: £850; Cost of upgrade for chamionships: £390; New tools bought: £160
Awards : Eurocosplay UK rep; showcased 22 June 2014
Time Taken : Started in June 2013

Oiran Hana from Gate 7 is one of the most gorgeous designs I have ever seen. I chose to make it because I love traditional Japanese costumes. The Oiran and Tayu wore the most spectacular outfits of all.


I truly believe this fat wig to be indestructible!

The wig is glazed with wood varnish and held together with waterproof wood glue - it's been in the rain twice and still held together. When crushed, the foam just springs back into shape (and cushions the kanzashi at the same time). I even sat on it once by accident.

Longest time spent in wig: 5h 30 mins (Japan Expo 2014)
Current weight: 1.7kg
Dimensions: 49 x 31 x 26cm
Dropped: x2
Trodden on/kicked: x3
Rainstorms survived: x2
Conventions attended: London Expo May 2014, Japan Expo (Paris) 2014
Wood glue bottles used (250ml each): x4


Avatar Image

this will be stunning, GOSH STOP BEING SO TALENTED

by LolaInProgress on Sunday, 30 June, 2013 - 13:27
Avatar Image

Oh wow! So beautiful. Can't wait to see more.

by Sephirayne on Monday, 9 September, 2013 - 22:12
Avatar Image

Whoosh dat wig, I don't envy you in the slightest! XD a tip for keeping wigs on, you can buy wig clips that you sew into the hairline of the wig cap which then snags into your proper hair and wig cap and prevents it from slipping :) I've had to sew clips in to wigs that are too heavy (big example is Aerith and her mahoosive plait OTL)

by Freyarule on Tuesday, 10 September, 2013 - 07:58
Avatar Image

Thanks Freyarule, I'm going on a clip hunt! Your Aerith wig looks very back-heavy, yet in all your photos, it's perfectly in place. I'm going to try it!

by Kei Lin Sama on Tuesday, 10 September, 2013 - 21:34
Avatar Image

As Freyarule said the clips will be great to keep this wig on! Theres lots of tutorials online to make lace frount wigs which is where you add netting to the frount of the wig and slowly loop wig fibers around the holes to make it look like normal hair (netting needs to be skin coloured duh XD)
As for the giant back thing. get some packets of wefts which coscraft sell for £5 a pack. Then get either some chicken wire covered in fabric or cardboard or worbla (depends what you plan to do to the back XD Cut into the O shape and then a smallish hole in the middle. Then cover in black fabric and then slowly cover in the black wefts. And then once covered hair spray and cut off loose ends ^^
Then attach to your wig with either sewing or more hair grips. hopes this is helpful if not message me ^^ i can try help more!

by Darkiekun on Tuesday, 24 September, 2013 - 20:29
Avatar Image

Ah Darkiekun, another wig expert! Please share your wisdom..

I started sewing in the clips and they really grip my hair nicely, but when I tried the wig on, there's the wig cap between the clips and my hair. What do you recommend?

Also, I already made the butterfly bun out of craft foam and wefts (see journal) and I wish I'd thought to put some wire under the foam..

Last question: how do you get your own hair to lie nicely underneath the wig, especially if you have a heavy wig? Do you just stuff it in a wig cap, or do you have a secret way of hiding it?

by Kei Lin Sama on Tuesday, 24 September, 2013 - 20:55

Heya, if clipping into the wig cap is an issue, Coscraft do black netting ones that are nice and easy to put clips through, if you've just been using the stocking type ones before now!
If you have lovely long hair you can braid it and loop it up on top of your head like so:
If it's short hair like mine, you can just shove it under the wig cap but you may need clips for those annoying little bits of hair at the nape of your neck. If you're particularly hardcore you can get wayward bits at the nape shaved off by your hairdresser...! I just kirby grip mine cos screw that XD

And here's a wee tutorial on using pin curls for extra security when kirby gripping wigs. Think I might try this too!

by madmazda86 on Thursday, 26 September, 2013 - 12:51
Avatar Image

Wow, can't wait to see this! ^_^

by Nesabi on Monday, 11 November, 2013 - 17:30

Kanzashi look fab!

by madmazda86 on Tuesday, 17 December, 2013 - 00:15
Avatar Image

Oh wow this is looking incredible!! Can't wait to see more progress!!

by Moonchild on Tuesday, 14 January, 2014 - 03:32
Avatar Image

Wow! That wig is looking incredible. Beautiful work.

by Sephirayne on Tuesday, 14 January, 2014 - 14:11
Avatar Image

Awesome progress!!!!!! Well done on the wig, looks hard but you have done it so well!

by Siouxsie James on Wednesday, 15 January, 2014 - 08:37
Avatar Image

astounding progress! can't wait to see more <3

by Frederica la Noir on Sunday, 19 January, 2014 - 12:49
Avatar Image

Very impressed so much detail and so much patience has already gone into this costume – beautiful work, I can’t wait to see more!

by Angelphie on Tuesday, 4 March, 2014 - 19:33
Avatar Image

This is looking so impressive - the wig in particular!

by InfiniteJester on Wednesday, 26 March, 2014 - 10:05
Avatar Image

Your wig skill is epic, thus on my watch list it goes. :)

by Cy-Fi on Wednesday, 26 March, 2014 - 19:26
Avatar Image

The progress on this looks amazing!
Can't wait to see the final result <3

by Emzone on Friday, 28 March, 2014 - 19:17

You deserve congratulations for the nearly two-kilo wig alone! For a novice like me, having the words "two", "kilogram" and "wig" next to one another like that just screams insanity, but you're pulling it off! Can't wait to see how it looks with the rest of the outfit! Keep it up!

by Origin on Tuesday, 29 April, 2014 - 23:14
Avatar Image

Thanks Origin. I knew it would be madness but I still tried it. The glue is still drying so I don't know if it will hold together. Wish me luck!

by Kei Lin Sama on Wednesday, 30 April, 2014 - 20:03
Avatar Image

I love your style so much!!! I am also soooo impressed at the level of details in all of your work right down to how much effort you put into making those beautiful wigs. :) I cannot wait to see more work from you.

by Clockwork Dandy Noodles on Wednesday, 30 April, 2014 - 22:43
Avatar Image

Wow, that headdress and wig, it's so intricate. This'll look great on you :)

by Decora on Thursday, 1 May, 2014 - 02:06
Avatar Image

It's looking absolutely incredible! <3

by Nesabi on Sunday, 11 May, 2014 - 09:57
Avatar Image

This is such beautiful work. Really love seeing your progress.

by Sephirayne on Tuesday, 13 May, 2014 - 22:38
Avatar Image

Can't wait to see you in this at the weekend! :) <3

by Monkey on Tuesday, 20 May, 2014 - 11:47
Avatar Image

Omg. I'm in love with all of this!

by Alias Cosplay on Tuesday, 20 May, 2014 - 20:56
Avatar Image

Really enjoying reading your progress. I love the mock up of the kimono in small scale. Great idea.

by Sephirayne on Thursday, 22 May, 2014 - 17:29
Avatar Image

Overjoyed to hear you qualified for EuroCosplay with this! Your costume looks amazing from what I've seen and the progress has been stunning!

I remember meeting you in 2012 at EuroCosplay with your Articuno and adored that too. Huge congrats and again, beautiful work :)

by Exelia on Sunday, 25 May, 2014 - 14:32
Avatar Image

I am so thrilled that you qualified! You're absolutely amazing and it's so well deserved, and AHHHH I can't wait to see you again in October. Well done, you wonderful, talented, amazing person, you. :D

by Nesabi on Monday, 26 May, 2014 - 13:05

Congrats on nailing the EC qualification! I remember someone backstage saying they'd be pretty surprised if you didn't end up winning and, from the work you put into the wig (and the performance/stage time itself, which was also awesome), I can't really disagree with them. :D

by Origin on Monday, 26 May, 2014 - 13:38
Avatar Image

Congratulations to you and your epic wig for winning the EuroCosplay qualifier. Good luck for the October finals.

by ArcaneArchery on Monday, 26 May, 2014 - 14:04
Avatar Image

Grats on getting through Eurocosplay qualifier!! :) can't wait to see pictures of this costume as I missed it at MCM!!

by Siouxsie James on Monday, 26 May, 2014 - 21:28
Avatar Image

I love all the hard work you put into this cosplay, it's so beautiful, congrats again on getting into Euro :)

by Mad Hamster on Thursday, 29 May, 2014 - 15:35
Avatar Image

*hugs for all* thank you, I will need all the luck I can get! I met so many skilled and experienced cosplayers over the MCM Expo weekend and picked up a lot of tips. If anyone has more con-crit or ideas for me, I would love to hear them. I want to do the UK proud!

by Kei Lin Sama on Thursday, 29 May, 2014 - 21:28
Avatar Image

I only got to see this briefly over the weekend but what I saw looked ace! Well done again on qualifying - I know you'll do good on the day! :D

by Shiro Hana on Thursday, 29 May, 2014 - 21:31
Avatar Image

Very, very nice work. Real attention to detail. Well done on the Euro qualifier.

by theKillingDoll on Thursday, 29 May, 2014 - 22:28
Avatar Image

Absolutely amazing, stunning work. I adore every detail you put into this costume, it looks absolutely fantastic! :D

by Cauldron Of Mischief on Friday, 30 May, 2014 - 23:33
Avatar Image

This is gorgeous <3 well done on qualifying for EGC, you deserve it and I know you'll do us proud!

by TheStarlightFairy on Saturday, 31 May, 2014 - 00:04
Avatar Image

This is such a gorgeous cosplay! All the detail is incredible. Well doen on qualifying for EGC!

by WhiteWraith on Saturday, 31 May, 2014 - 08:37
Avatar Image

This cosplay is absolutely gorgeous, you're so so talented! That wig is a wonder especially. Congrats on EGC!! Can't wait to see what you do next =D

by KiraraYumi on Saturday, 31 May, 2014 - 10:24
Avatar Image

I adore this costume so much! I was so excited to see you cosplay Hana! Her costumes from the covers always look stunning and you pull her off so well!

by Ickle on Saturday, 31 May, 2014 - 23:06
Avatar Image

This costume is absolutely exquisite! I love it! All that attention to detail! Just beautiful!

by Manticore on Sunday, 1 June, 2014 - 10:40
Avatar Image

This costume is absolutely exquisite! I love it! All that attention to detail! Just beautiful!

by Manticore on Sunday, 1 June, 2014 - 10:41
Avatar Image

Saw your performance at MCM. Just wanted to say you did a fantastic job and were a very worthy winner. Good luck in the next round!

by Kitri du Lac on Sunday, 1 June, 2014 - 16:59
Avatar Image

Congrats! It's such a gorgeous costume, truly deserved :'D

by Emzone on Sunday, 1 June, 2014 - 20:25
Avatar Image

Congratulations of your Euro cosplay entry ^__^ I can tell by the photos how much you deserved it!! The costume looks beautiful and detailed ^_^ wish i could have seen your performance in person

by Moonlight_Requiem on Monday, 2 June, 2014 - 10:31
Avatar Image

Congratulations on your Euro Cosplay qualifier! This is stunning, and the detail is immaculate. Another beauty by you.

by Kacela on Monday, 2 June, 2014 - 12:48
Avatar Image

Congratulations on the win!
It was so nice to meet you in the queue and admire that outfit up close - your sewing skills are out of this world, and as for that wig... :) Much deserved kudos for a beautiful cosplay.

by LittleBlondeGoth on Monday, 2 June, 2014 - 20:56
Avatar Image

Such a beautiful costume. You look amazing.

Congratulations on the Euro Cosplay qualifier. Very deserved.

by Sephirayne on Tuesday, 3 June, 2014 - 04:24
Avatar Image

Congratulations on winning the Qualifier! Such a beautiful costume :) x

by Frederica la Noir on Tuesday, 3 June, 2014 - 10:10
Avatar Image

absolutely gorgeous and congrats on winning the qualifier!!
the wig alone is stunning, can't wait for anymore shots of the outfit! c:

by electrospectrum on Tuesday, 3 June, 2014 - 15:21
Avatar Image

cant believe i have not commented on this, it looked absolutley beautiful :)

by J-Po on Thursday, 5 June, 2014 - 16:04
Avatar Image

So amazing in the final outfit! Really pleased you won with it!

by InfiniteJester on Thursday, 5 June, 2014 - 23:10
Avatar Image

This is a stunning cosplay of Hana *_* The amount of detail and work that's gone into it is crazy!

by Lady Bahamut on Friday, 6 June, 2014 - 13:51
Avatar Image

This is such an inspirational cosplay! So much thought has gone into it! Much luck for euro cosplay :-)

by Sammykins on Thursday, 12 June, 2014 - 06:25
Avatar Image

Congrats on a well deserved showcase <3 this really is breathtakingly lovely!

by TheStarlightFairy on Sunday, 22 June, 2014 - 20:03

Congrats on the showcase :) I would agree with your decisions regarding performance choice to an extent, there was a lot of mock swordplay last year, but the issue wasn't with the swordplay itself, but rather that there was no story to go with it, no reason for it - many folks just walked on stage, twirled a sword around and walked off again. Whereas your skit idea has a definite reason for the swordplay (possession). If it's any help, other folks have made use of strong magnets to attach things, you could potentially keep your mask in place via that method so you don't need to put anything over your head, although I don't know what style of mask you're considering. The ruined face idea sounds frickin' awesome and would definitely have some serious shock/wow factor, if you had some method for getting it on like having it already inside the mask with some carpet tape already peeled back so you can just push it against your face and have the whole thing stick. But that wouldn't solve the problem of you losing half the hair on your head while rehearsing! I'm just throwing these ideas at you because I've seen skits relying on knowledge of the character and source material fall flat in the past - skits telling a self-contained story and comedy skits tend to do a bit better, but skits that create an atmosphere through stagecraft and lighting are pretty awesome, so it's hard to know what is best to go for. I would caution you against too much reliance on the lighting though, Expo's lighting team are great but sometimes things happen out with their control!

Hope that helps :)

by madmazda86 on Monday, 23 June, 2014 - 06:04
Avatar Image

So happy this got showcased. Congratulations. Well deserved. <3

by Sephirayne on Monday, 23 June, 2014 - 19:29
Avatar Image

This is so lovely <3 CLAMP do such lovely designs and it's wonderful to see one of them cosplayed so well, especially from something like Gate7, which is fantastic, but hasn't received the attention it deserves.
Honestly love this cosplay! Perfection *3*

by x-Blade-x on Wednesday, 25 June, 2014 - 23:23
Avatar Image

Thank you all so much for your support. I will do my best to do the UK proud! Massive gratitude to whoever voted me onto my third showcase spot.

@Madmazda86 I love getting feedback in my comments! I really wanted to do the mask performance too. My heart said yes but The Wig said no. Maybe I can do something similar for another costume (which has slightly less hair).. Much appreciation for your thoughts.

by Kei Lin Sama on Thursday, 26 June, 2014 - 21:39
Avatar Image

Many congratulations on the showcase, you're an absolute legend. <3

by Nesabi on Sunday, 29 June, 2014 - 19:29

Congratulations on Eurocosplay Qualifiers! Your costume is gorgeous, a lot of work, well done! :D

by Pudding on Sunday, 29 June, 2014 - 20:15
Avatar Image

Wow, I just love the research going into this. Incredible work!

by Kitri du Lac on Wednesday, 3 September, 2014 - 19:55

I am SUPER EXCITED to see this in October :D :D

by madmazda86 on Thursday, 18 September, 2014 - 19:25
Avatar Image

The upgrades look excellent! They should take your costume from stunning to just about perfect!

by Mighty Odango on Friday, 19 September, 2014 - 09:45
Avatar Image

Brake a leg and all that 😀

by Cy-Fi on Friday, 24 October, 2014 - 07:42

This is absolutely gorgeous and you look amazing in it, well done and congratulations on getting a (very well deserved) judges award at finals! :D x

by Pudding on Tuesday, 4 November, 2014 - 23:07
Avatar Image

You were elegant as ever my Cherry :) I love this cosplay everything is detailed and perfect <3

by Clockwork Dandy Noodles on Saturday, 13 June, 2015 - 10:47
Avatar Image

Beautiful work :)

by Alias Cosplay on Saturday, 13 June, 2015 - 12:25
Avatar Image

Awesome cosplaying!

by Ranma1-2 on Saturday, 13 June, 2015 - 23:21
Avatar Image

So so beautiful <3

by Moonchild on Monday, 30 November, 2015 - 12:54

To-Do List

Wig - add more combs/clips in the sides of the wigHighPlanned
Wig - neatening the front weftsHighPlanned
Wig - repositioning of front kanzashi (better accuracy needed)HighPlanned
Wig - cover plate under the butterfly bunHighPlanned
Wig - operculum for holes in the 'ears' of the butterfly bunHighPlanned
Wig - kanzashi sanding (central groove)MediumPlanned
Wig - kanzashi sockets to be tidied and securedMediumPlanned
Wig - front dangling veils to be re-madeMediumPlanned


Overview of new materials bought for Hana costume (Posted 6th January 2015)

It's taken a while to put this list together, but I was determined to record everything I bought in order to make Hana. Here is the overview. You can see a breakdown of each costume section in the journal entries below!

Hana wig (Posted 6th January 2015)

Costs of materials used to make Hana's wig

Hana kimono costs (Posted 6th January 2015)

All the fabrics, paints and embroidery costs

Hana costs (miscellaneous items and tools) (Posted 6th January 2015)

Includes costs of new tools bought

Costs of upgrading Hana for the EC 214 finals (Posted 6th January 2015)

Upgrade costs

EC scores (Posted 29th December 2014)

Here are the scores for all the Eurocosplay 2014 contestants. I'm joint 9th with two of my favorite costumes - Ezio Auditore (Assassin's Creed) and Deathstroke (Batman)!

Oiran shoes (koma geta) (Posted 19th October 2014)

Made giant tall shoes out of papier mache... and tested them today. Here I am standing in them! Thanks, Nesabi, for helping me practice!

Hana's red uchikake is finished (Posted 17th October 2014)

Really happy with it! Light and comfortable to wear, easy to dance in, folds up small.

Red uchikake re-made (Posted 14th October 2014)

The first uchikake (the outer kimono) was really heavy and I'd made several mistakes while making it. Here's progress on the second attempt!

The blue kimono is finished! (Posted 18th September 2014)


Obi harness upgraded (Posted 13th September 2014)

Hana's obi is so heavy that I had to make a harness to keep it in place

New kimono fabric (Posted 11th September 2014)

I've been really dissatisfied with my fabric choices and finally decided to do something about it. My first attempt at Hana's blue kimono was made from standard cheap cotton. It was the wrong colour. I also messed up the collar. Rather stupidly, I had also decided it make it in the Hikizuri style, which means the kimono is longer than my height and trails on the ground - hikizuri kimono are beautiful, but not a good choice for London MCM Expo.

My new fabric is from a bolt of lilac kimono silk that I snapped up for a bargain on Ebay. It has some stains at the edges (hence the low price) but I'll be able to paint over any defects.

More silk painting (Posted 9th September 2014)

I am using glutinous rice paste as a resist medium. It's closer to the traditional Japanese silk painting techniques, and it has a nice antique look. The lines are a little softer and smoother, and the colours are more subtle than modern silk painting

Silk painting (Posted 8th September 2014)

When my costume was being judged at London Expo May 2014, the lovely judges gave me some tips to improve. One of their suggestions was silk painting. I've outlined the design using boiled rice paste as a resist medium. A huge thank you to TheKillingDoll and Mighty Odango!

Shibori fabric (Posted 6th September 2014)

Here is the first piece of shibori fabric I've made. It's about the size of a credit card. This is the best my poor camera could manage, so the quality isn't great.

Shibori test results (Posted 5th September 2014)

This is my first attempt at shibori. It requires loads of patience and it's very fiddly!

Shibori knots (Posted 5th September 2014)

Shibori is made by tying loads of tiny knots very close together. This is the best my camera could do with such a small piece of fabric

Shibori reference (Posted 5th September 2014)

Feeling slightly mad. Decided to make my own shibori fabric. This type is called 'Kanoko shibori' and it is worn in many traditional hairstyles. It is supposed to look like this:

Making the makura (Posted 4th September 2014)

Here's the cute little makura I made. It has a pocket for my wallet and phone so I can carry them easily while wearing my costume. I had to slit open a spare pillow for the stuffing, so it's turned out a bit lumpy.

Makura references (Posted 4th September 2014)

This is a makura. It supports the obi knot and makes it look puffy. I've decided to make my own instead of buying one. Here's what it's supposed to look like!

The turned collar (Posted 3rd September 2014)

That little red triangle on Hana's neck is actually a turned collar (signifying that the geiko or oiran has a patron). Took me a long time to find out what it was!

Nagajuban front (Posted 3rd September 2014)

Here's what I made to wear under my kimono. The collar and shoulders are as authentic as I could get them, but the waist hips are fitted so that the garment is easy to wear and not too restrictive

Authentic undergarments (Posted 3rd September 2014)

The nagajuban is an undergarment worn underneath a kimono. The collar and skirt are visible when fully dressed. Here are reference pictures I used when designing my underwear

Oiran shoes (Posted 2nd September 2014)

I'm attempting to make my own Oiran geta out of papier mache. Wish me luck!!

The skin is made of cardboard and the inside is reinforced with wood glue and kitchen towel. This was supposed to be a mock-up but it's so sturdy that I've decided to finish it as if it were the real thing.

Thoughts on the wig (Posted 7th July 2014)

Several people have asked me about wig styling. Honestly, I don't know. I hate wigs. I hate the hairyness of them. The thing I've made isn't really a wig, it's a helmet. I never want to see another wig - for the next year, or at least until some of my hair has grown back.

RSpanner's stage sketch (Posted 26th June 2014)

RSpanner did this really lovely sketch of the doorway setup for my performance. As Hana steps through the doorway, two paintings will unroll showing the rainy street scene. Thanks RSpanner!

Performance chosen (Posted 12th June 2014)

Thanks for everyone who gave their feedback on my performance ideas. Almost everyone wanted to see 1. The Mask or 2. Getting Ready.

I tested both of these and here are the results:

1. The Mask

A good performance for showing off the durability of the kimono, obi, and uchikake. However, this performance requires quite a few vigorous head movements, which didn't go well with the wig. Actually, the wig was fine, but my hair follicles weren't - I found tufts and tufts of hair in the wig clips.

The second difficulty was designing the mask to fit nicely over the wig. I think this one will be more trouble than it's worth.
Edit: Madmazda86 suggested magnets, which would be an excellent solution to this particular problem

The third problem was that many of the other skits for EC have involved some form of 'mime-fighting'. Most of those were better than I could ever hope to be. I decided that unless I could do this performance really well, it wouldn't stand out or be memorable.

2. Getting Ready

Definitely the easier of the two performances. This one is very much in character for an Oiran, and is likely to be unique and different from the other contestants' performances.

Slow and graceful movements make it much easier to manage the wig. I will have to train myself to be slow and graceful, since neither of those things come naturally to me.

There's a lot of scope to create an atmosphere using sound, lighting and set dressing

The main difficulty here is set dressing, since I have ambitious plans and I only get one poor stage ninja.

Hana performance ideas (Posted 11th June 2014)

Performance ideas - posted for feedback

Notes about Hana’s character:
Sometimes she is refined and elegant, but sometimes she has goofy moments
She loves to eat
She comes from a world of mystery, magic and spirits (similar to XXXHolic)
She fights with a sword
She looks and dresses like a girl, but is neither male nor female

1. The mask (energetic performance)

Hana enters the stage furtively and looks around to make sure nobody is watching. She reveals a demon mask she has hidden in her kimono sleeve and inspects it. With increasing tension and trepidation, yet unable to resist, Hana puts the mask onto her face. She is transformed into the demon and her folding fan becomes a sword. After an energetic martial display, she pulls the mask off and hides it again with a mysterious smile.
A darker ending – after pulling off her mask, Hana discovers that her face has been ruined (peeling latex mask underneath). She rushes to a mirror and stares at her disfigurement in horror and despair.

2. Getting ready for the evening (elegant performance)

Hana is kneeling on the floor putting the finishing touches to her makeup. She paints her lips and puts away her makeup box. Her uchikake (outer robe) is hanging on a frame. She slides it from the rod and puts it on. Hana then slips her feet into her okobo (tall sandals) and hitches up her robe. *sound effects of rain/thunder/lightning flash* She holds her hand outside and feels the rain. Her assistant passes an umbrella. Hana then proceeds out onto the end of the street with the stylised oiran walk (“oiran dochu”).

3. Temple duties (cute/goofy comedy performance)

Hana is carrying out her shrine maiden duties (sweeping the floor, praying). The is tired. *sound effect tummy rumbles* Stage assistant hands Hana a fish on a skewer, to Hana’s delight. She grills it over the temple brazier with apprehension and guilt – then eats it nervously. She resumes her duties

4. Tea ceremony (elegant performance)

Hana performs a tea ceremony with giant pantomime-sized implements

Obi applique 2 (Posted 29th May 2014)

The lotus pieces were sewn onto the obi. The obi fabric is shot gold silk stabilised with interfacing and curtain bump. The silk has to have a supportive backing so that it isn't warped by the applique, and it keeps a flat shape.

Obi applique (Posted 29th May 2014)

The embroidered pieces were cut out. Curtain bump was ironed onto the pieces with vilene to stabilise the embroidered parts. The raw edges were folded under, and gold ribbon was added to highlight the edges

Obi water pattern (Posted 29th May 2014)

A formal obi has no bare space on the visible surface. I wanted to reflect this by painting a subtle water pattern between the lotus leaves and flowers. The design was painted in brown ink using a square flat brush.

Reference - Japanese gold (Posted 29th May 2014)

I wanted this antique golden effect for the obi. This is a screen door, not an obi, but when I saw it, I was inspired!

The journal continues - obi embroidery (Posted 29th May 2014)

I painted the gradient pink on the flowers and outlined the shapes with the heavy chain stitch. Stem stitch was used for the details

One broken toe later.. (Posted 26th May 2014)

Seriously wow! This is very unexpected. There were so many good costumes that would have been excellent EC competitors.
I’ve decided to give it my best and polish up this costume to the highest standard I’m capable of. After interrogating TheKillingDoll, I have some idea of what to improve.

1. A good performance

Performing is my weakest skill and performance is critical at this level. The judges’ suggestion was to watch as many cosplay performances as possible, especially for competitions like WCS and ECG, where performance is weighted at 50%.

2. Unfinished bits

Several parts of the costume are tidy but not fully finished. Examples are the tips of the butterfly bun, where the inside of the bun is visible, and the back of the armour plates (which were unpainted). Here, I would fill the bun with something so that the inside can’t be seen. Phil suggested there should be something on the back of the armour plates – maybe a nice lining or a coat of paint, or even a simple design. The judges at the EC finals will have 15 minutes to inspect the costume, and they will scrutinise every inch. I will re-inspect my costume critically and look for unfinished sections to complete.

3. The wave-patterned obi

Painting golden waves on polyester chiffon was an experiment, and I wasn’t happy with the result at all. Half the paint came off in the wash, and in many of the photos it looks considerably cheaper than the rest of the costume. I have decided to use goldwork for the waves on the bow obi (demonstrated by Monkey ‘Goldenmochi’ in her panel), and a Yuzen silk painting for the trailing pieces. The judges suggested the silk painting, while I wanted to do batik or resist-dye, and Yuzen silk painting is a perfect combination of the two.

4. The undergarments

I’ve got a habit of wearing clothes under my costumes just in case anything slips. I hate showing my skin in cosplay, and I’m very conscious of covering myself up. I was wearing a t-shirt and shorts underneath, but they were visible through the costume. I am going to attempt more traditional undergarments for the finals.

Somehow I managed to break a toe during my escapades at May Expo. Not sure when it happened, but I noticed it on Sunday. It's purple, swollen, and lumpy!

Obi makura (Posted 22nd May 2014)

A pillow that supports the obi. It is set in place by two worbla panels

Obi corset (Posted 22nd May 2014)

This is the elasticated corset that keeps the obi tight on my stomach. I can breath comfortably while in costume. I decided on an obi harness because the obi is extremely heavy.

The kimono top (Posted 22nd May 2014)

Kimono top finished. I chose to do the kimono in two halves so that I could put the obi harness underneath the top. I can get into and out of the costume without any assistance

Kimono wave pattern (Posted 22nd May 2014)

Freehand painting of the wave pattern using the 'Blob-and-drag' method. This means the brush is heavily loaded with fabric paint and pressed onto the fabric. The water tension creates a smooth line.

Kimono mockup miniature (Posted 22nd May 2014)

I decided to mock up the pattern for the kimono in miniature. It helped to see how the painting on the panels would fit together

Oiran wig complete (Posted 20th May 2014)

Finally I got some time to prop up the wig and take some photos. I still haven't been able to weigh it yet.

Oiran wig top view (Posted 20th May 2014)

Here's the top

Oiran wig complete - side view (Posted 20th May 2014)

It's tipping over!

Back view (Posted 20th May 2014)

What a beast!

Bun attachment to the base (Posted 20th May 2014)

The bun is attached to the base by a ring structure, which extends its claws in all directions. The longer claws are curved using Worbla.

Leaf kanzashi (Posted 20th May 2014)

Made from a transparent takeaway box and a chopstick. This kanzashi has to look like the rest of the resin kanzashi, so I coated it in golden acrylic paint mixed with wood glue to get the same effect.

The stem is made from PVC pipe, coated with the same paint-woodglue mix

Crested kanzashi (Posted 20th May 2014)

One of the circular casts glued to a chopstick. There are some dangling bits which clip on with magnets.

Finished! (Posted 11th May 2014)

The costume is finished! It's massive... I wore the whole wig and it's neck-breakingly heavy. Tried to weigh it but it won't fit on my baking scales. I have created a monster.

I'll upload progress pics when I stop being lazy. Who reads this stuff anyway?

Putting it together (Posted 29th April 2014)

The wig is ready to be glued together permanently. It's currently in two pieces - the base and the butterfly bun. Tonight, they become one!

The kimono and obi belt are nearly done too. The uchikake is still putting up a good fight. I will post pictures of the fabric parts when I've finished documenting the hair.

Oiran combs (2) (Posted 3rd March 2014)

Oiran combs arranged in parallel with the butterfly bun. It's taking shape!

Oiran combs (Posted 3rd March 2014)

The semi-circle you see at the top of the oiran's head is actually made of 3 combs arranged in a fan shape.

The sides of the wig (2) (Posted 2nd March 2014)

The sides, back, and butterfly bun are complete.

The sides of the wig (Posted 2nd March 2014)

The back and sides of the wig are finished. Here's how they fit together

The back of the wig (Posted 2nd March 2014)

Here is the side view of the back of the wig. There's space inside for all my long hair.

Eri-ashi progress (Posted 2nd March 2014)

I cut out the eri-ashi shape from funky foam and glued hair to the top. Then I attached it to the back piece of the wig.

Eri-ashi (reference pic) (Posted 2nd March 2014)

Here's my idea for the back of the wig. Normally, the geiko or oiran draws a tapered stripe design using her white make-up to accentuate the nape of the neck. I don't think I can draw neatly on the back of my own neck, so I will make the shape with the hair (as shown in the reference pic). Note: the three-legged design is 'Sanbon-ashi', and the two-legged design is called 'Eri-ashi'.

Kanzashi flower finished (Posted 18th February 2014)

A nice break from sanding resin and gluing hair to foam

Kanzashi flower in progress (Posted 18th February 2014)

Got tired of the wig

Edit: The petals were gradient dyed with serial dilution and spray bottles. The beaded decoration was very fiddly!

Hairpin sockets (Posted 18th February 2014)

Here's the bit that anchors the hairpins to the back of the head

Ring support for the butterfly bun (Posted 18th February 2014)

Here is the bit that attaches the bun to the wig. Made from Worbla and craft foam

More hairpins (Posted 13th January 2014)

Hair pins fan out from each side of the wig

Oiran wig back view (Posted 13th January 2014)

Here's the back..

Attaching the bun to the wig base (Posted 13th January 2014)

The bun is attached to a ring-shaped support, which is fixed onto the wig base. Thanks Darkiekun!

Katsura - the base for the oiran wig (Posted 13th January 2014)

Many thanks for the excellent wig advice from Freyarule, Darkiekun, Madmazda86, and Afireinsideirl. I put several comb clips inside the wig to hold it onto my hair. The top part remained on my head even when the bottom of the wig tore itself away under the weight of the kanzashi (the whole lot is approaching 2kg now).

I decided to make a robust base for the wig using corset bones and bias binding channels. Doesn't it look like a helmet?

Oiran combs (Posted 13th January 2014)

Each of the combs slots into a socket made of Worbla. The comb assembly sits just in front of the butterfly bun

Attaching kanzashi to the butterfly bun (Posted 13th January 2014)

Surprisingly heavy!

Coral beaded kanzashi (Posted 13th January 2014)

More Primark kanzashi

Hairstick kanzashi (Posted 13th January 2014)

Made from leftover Primark bits

Oiran bun (Posted 13th January 2014)

Here's the butterfly bun so far. Each of the hairsticks is anchored in its own socket made from worbla.

Sanding the kanzashi (Posted 16th December 2013)

Progress is slow, but I have finally finished sanding all 25 pieces of tortoiseshell kanzashi. I used 12 grades of sandpaper: starting with grit 60, 100, 180, 280, 400, 600, 800, 1000, 1200, 1500, 2000, and ending with 2500. When the sanding starts, there's a soft and slightly sticky surface that clumps on the sandpaper. Once that was removed, I sanded the entire surface of each piece with the lowest grade evenly, then repeated with the next grade (and so on). If you miss a bit, the scratches will show through, and to get rid of them you have to start again from a coarse grade, which can be frustrating.

Casting with polyester resin (Posted 18th November 2013)

Here are all the tortoiseshell kanzashi, ready to be smoothed and finished. This was my first costume with water clear polyester resin. Polyurethane resin is a lot easier to handle than polyester, so I don't know if I would choose polyester resin again. The fumes are nasty (I bought a mask after the first attempt). My biggest difficulty was the viscosity of the heat resistant silicone moulding gel.

The golden amber colour effect was achieved by mixing brown and yellow acrylic paints into the resin just before pouring. It's a shame the colour is so inconsistent, but it didn't turn out too badly.

Making the butterfly bun (part 2) (Posted 10th September 2013)

The glue has dried, so now I have two halves of the bun! Probably needs a trim and then some more hair..

Decorative knotwork for the butterfly bun (Posted 9th September 2013)

The back of the butterfly bun is decorated with a 'Good luck' knot. The knot is tied from a golden curtain cord I spotted at a market!

Making the butterfly bun (Posted 9th September 2013)

Once the wefts were glued to the foam pieces, I stitched them together. Soon the glue will dry and I'll be able to fold the hair into that iconic Oiran butterfly shape

Kanzashi mockup (Posted 9th September 2013)

I really have no idea what I'm doing. As always, the best thing to do is make a mock-up and see what happens. The butterfly bow is made from black paper and card. The hairsticks are made from cardboard. I got the wig for a tenner, since I will almost certainly need more than one attempt to get the hair right.

Horrible wig (Posted 26th August 2013)

I've decided to tackle the wig first and get it done before I start on the fabric parts. I just made some hair loops for the butterfly bun and the sides by gluing hair wefts to the foam pieces. Everything was going smoothly until I trimmed the excess hair. Now there's hair sheddings all over my room and it's gotten everywhere!

The wig (Posted 14th August 2013)

I bought a wig and started on the hair. This has got to be the most challenging wig I've ever attempted.. The butterfly bun at the back will be really heavy and the whole wig is just bristling with hair-sticks. I heard that bobby pins will keep a wig in place but it'll take more than that to keep this monstrosity on my head. If any wig experts are reading this, your advice would be very welcome!