Alice Elliot - Shadow Hearts


I loved this costume even before I played the game; the shot of it on the box and on all the promo stuff caught my attention immediately. Having long since played and enjoyed Shadow Hearts, it’s about time I got round to actually making the damn costume! Somehow I got sidetracked into making Karin first, but Alice has been at the back of my mind for ages. I finally made it for MinamiCon 2010

I chose velvet for the costume, mostly because it came in the colour I wanted, but I also think it’s appropriate for the design. I based my jacket off New Look 6435. It’s lined in blue taffeta, fastens with a zip at the centre front, and the white panel (which is also velvet) is sewn down one side, then snaps down the other. I didn’t think buttonholes on velvet was a good idea, but the problem with non-functional shank buttons is that they don’t want to sit right. I’m also not completely happy with the buttons I found, so may keep an eye out for better ones. The brooch is craft foam; I might make a nicer one eventually.

The skirt is a circle skirt, but made up of several panels to keep the nap of the velvet consistently running downwards. It goes over a petticoat, which I made myself from white polycotton. The petticoat is a circle skirt with two rows of ruffles at the hem, and it’s probably my favourite part of the costume!

The wig was challenging. It’s a Clover L in silver from CosWorx, with two packs of their wefted extensions sewn in. One weft goes right round the hairline to make it neat when it’s all pulled into the updo. The second weft was sewn into a seam and forms the back parting. With all that extra fibre, I could manage the French braids ok, although it took several tries to get them neat, taunt, symmetrical, and ensure the wig still fitted my head ok. The bow at the back is the same velvet as elsewhere, made from gathered rectangles. It safety pins into the wig.

I kept the fringe quite long to hide my eyebrows and save me colouring them silver/making them thin and not obvious like Alice’s are! I also use the edges of the fringe to conceal the hairline and prevent any of my own hair showing.

The boots are from eBay, and I added tongues of leatherette to adjust them a little. These are removable so I can wear the boots normally/for other costumes. They attach with kirby grips and double-sided tape!The gloves are from a vintage shop, and fit wonderfully. I chose to add the flounces to the gloves rather than the jacket sleeves, not sure why. They’re circles finished with a rolled hem. I also bought the stockings on eBay, and later bought a second pair to layer them and stop the band at the top from being so obvious. I used a random book as a prop, I’m thinking about making an accurate prop one eventually.

CGOPbleachbabe posted on 12 January, 2010 - 21:07
o wow so wants to see pics when its completed

Mighty Odango posted on 12 January, 2010 - 23:28
Alice will definitely suit you!

perfectly_purple posted on 13 January, 2010 - 11:00
I used velvet for my Alice. It was a nightmare (and needs repairs) but was so soft and close to how I imagined it was. I think you'll do this brilliantly! ^_^

Amy-Lou posted on 13 January, 2010 - 11:11
I love this costume, can't wait to see it.

same_difference posted on 22 January, 2010 - 21:53
If you like I'll bring my Yuri to Minami. Interested to see your take on it, and will remember the mock up first plan for future too.

Angelphie posted on 23 January, 2010 - 16:09
Thanks everyone! perfectly_purple - one of the reasons I picked velvet was because I remembered how nice your costume looked! It's encouraging to know it's a suitable choice same_difference - it'd be great if you brought Yuri along. I'm hoping for a small Shadow Hearts group again, so please do join in!

KhaosKreator posted on 23 January, 2010 - 16:30
I love the ruffles, they look so decadent. -Tab

Lulu Rose posted on 26 January, 2010 - 05:11
wooooo I'm bringing Veronica to Minami and I belive Junta is FINALLY going to do Joachim! You'll look so cute especially if your Karin shows us anything on how well you'll pull this off.

perfectly_purple posted on 28 January, 2010 - 21:36
Hmmmm, now you've tempted me to attempt Margarete... Loving the progress btw! Ruffles are a pain to do but look so fantastic when they're done! ^_^

Member-XI posted on 12 March, 2010 - 02:44
Your wig and costume look amazing! I can't wait to see it all finished x_x Um, hope you don't mind my asking, but you know how you parted your wig? How did you manage to get a weft to cover the mesh? I'm having a bit of difficulty trying to figure out how to use a weft to hide mesh that shows from parting the wig and i'm a bit reluctant to buy unwefted extensions because they are so pricey! I understand if you'd rather not share how you did that part of your wig and what not :)

letmelive posted on 12 March, 2010 - 17:12
Cant wait to see this your progress looks amazing so far! xxx

Angelphie posted on 12 March, 2010 - 21:14
Member-XI - doing the wig parting like that is actually really easy, and much quicker than the methods with loose unwefted extensions. First time I’ve tried it, and I definitely recommend it! I’m not sure I can describe it better than I did in the costume journal, but I’ll try. I’ve sent you a PM to avoid a long comment here.

YamiNoAeris posted on 13 March, 2010 - 18:18
This is looking awesome so far!!! :D You're going to make a great Alice~ can't wait to see this finished. ^_^

Member-XI posted on 15 March, 2010 - 05:38
Thank you for the PM Angelhpie, it was really appreciated :) Good luck with your Alice costume! <3

Sephirayne posted on 28 March, 2010 - 19:39
Love the costume design. Your going to do it so well. Can't wait to see it.

Anonymous posted on 28 March, 2010 - 20:55
Those pics are absolutely awesome. That costume looks totally great and you look really wicked wearing it.

Sephirayne posted on 28 March, 2010 - 21:11
OMG! Those photos are amazing. You look so lovely and spot in your costume. I love the colours of the costume and the petticoat too. XX

nert posted on 29 March, 2010 - 00:23
Woah :O I've always loved her design even if I haven't a clue what she's like as a character. Certainly wasn't expecting to see full shots already! You work too fast dammit :P I feel justice has been served XD Let this be a warning: thou shalt be stolen for photos

Mangamad posted on 29 March, 2010 - 09:19
Now that does look lovely. Good work. ^^b

Member-XI posted on 29 March, 2010 - 14:46
It looks amazing! you definitely suit Alice! :D

YamiNoAeris posted on 31 March, 2010 - 18:06
This came out really well!! The photos are lovely~ The costume really suits you dear! :)

Mighty Odango posted on 31 March, 2010 - 20:40
Absolutely gorgeous (as usual). Seriously though, this costume looks really beautiful on you - don't often see you in darker colours but you pull it off wonderfully.

Sephirayne posted on 20 April, 2010 - 16:09
Stunning costume was stunning. Gutted that I only saw you briefly and failed to get a pic of you.

KhaosKreator posted on 21 April, 2010 - 23:58
I love the skirt! -Tab

Uni posted on 27 April, 2010 - 08:59
This is so elegant and amazingly made! You looked absolutely adorable! <: D

gaming_goddess posted on 28 April, 2010 - 20:58
I love alice so much! The costume is perfect!

letmelive posted on 29 April, 2010 - 16:08
Love this so much, Alice is by far my favourite and you did her amazing justice! xxxx

Lady Bahamut posted on 30 April, 2010 - 20:07
Wow, you suit Alice SO much! Amazing work :D You got some wonderful photo's there as well!

Ninodog posted on 30 April, 2010 - 20:11
This was full on luxurious costuming at it's best!

Leonie Heartilly posted on 2 May, 2010 - 20:14
I watched a friend play this game years ago and always liked her outfit. You did a great job ^^

Anonymous posted on 8 August, 2010 - 15:32
Your Alice is fantastic! I really love the color of the velvet you chose. The photo of you and Dez on that bench is so sweet! X3

J-Po posted on 20 October, 2010 - 11:27
awwwwww i love it :)

KhaosKreator posted on 5 October, 2011 - 21:03
Found this again when searching for a tutorial for wefting a back of a wig. I must say it's always a delight to read your journal entries. I've been playing around with my overlocker recently to see what things it does, how did you get yours to make ruffles? It could be just that my model doesn't do them, but if I can make the thing gather for me I'd be most pleased.

Angelphie posted on 6 October, 2011 - 20:49
I always like reading about how people make their costumes and learning from that, glad to someone out there likes my ramblings! My over locker settings for ruffles are differential, stitch length and needle tension to their highest settings, looper tension somewhere in the middle (4 on my machine). I’d heard over lockers could gather if you messed with the tension, so I googled it (“serger” obviously gets the best results for finding tips and tricks), experimented and succeeded. I try to write down any tension settings I’m successful with for different fabrics/effects because the right settings can take ages to figure out sometimes.

Debbie Ella posted on 17 January, 2013 - 00:24
Totally adorable and bloody hell that is one beautiful wig!

28th March 2010

Wig Back Part 2

5. I could then sew my weft to the back of the wig. That would be a drawing of the wig, the red line marking the centre back 6. I placed the weft with all the hair going to one side, exactly how it’s laid flat with all the hair going to the right in the picture. I then sewed by hand along that tight line of stitching I’d made at step 4 - the red line. That line is the actual parting, so it had to be centred on the wig, and the weft had to be secured at that point. The actual weft ends further to the left that the actual centre parting. 7. With it sewn on, I then parted the weft, which took a little care to get even. I used a hairdryer to persuade half of the hair to go the opposite way from how it wanted to - the section going to the left doubles back over the top of the weft itself and covers the stitching. I think of it like an ordinary seam in fabric. You’re placing pieces of fabric (in this case, layers of wefted hair) one on top of the other, sewing along one edge, and then opening it out and pressing it flat.

28th March 2010

Wig Back Part 1

In case it’s useful for anyone else, here’s my terrible explanation of how I did the back part on my wig. I wish I’d taken pics of this now, but it was a pretty quick process, so I didn’t think to. Instead, I had some fun doodling in paint! 1. That’s not a comb, it’s my beautiful illustration of the weft I got from CosWorx, which was really wide - a bit more than four times the length the back part needed to be. The thick black vertical line is what I’ll call the top of the weft - the stitching which secures all the hair together. 2. I folded it up into 4 to shorten it, and that also made it thick enough for my purposes, although if you were putting a wig into high pigtails, you’d definitely need more hair in the back part. 3. I then sewed the four layers together, just using a loose straight machine stitch along the top of the weft - this was just done roughly to keep the layers together and make the next step easier to get neat. 4. With everything roughly held in place, I then did the stitching which would form the actual parting (that red line). I set my sewing machine to the shortest straight stitch, and sewed a seam a little away from the top of the weft, on the actual hair. If you’re not familiar with this kind of technique, I’d recommend having a look through this tutorial on sewing wefts: http://images.cosplay.com/showphoto.php?photo=1079221

27th March 2010


I had a photoshoot today, so over the last week, I finished up the final few things. I have the last snap sewn to the jacket, and the lining closed up. I did find a suitable enough book to carry as a prop for the moment. Not desperately looking for a better one since heavy books aren’t good for my baggage allowance, and for that reason, I may see if I can borrow a book for Minami to save me packing one. I don’t actually own a copy of the game, so I wasn’t able to remind myself of what her various books really look like; I might do that eventually. So the very last thing was those annoying French braids. Through some experimentation, I eventually got the wig stretched to the right amount on the wig head (which needed to be looser than I thought), then the wig fitted my head, and the braids were taunt enough when I wore the wig. Alice’s braids puff out a bit from her head, so I wasn’t too concerned about getting it totally tight, flat against my head, so that leeway made it easier. I might coil up the ends of the braids, but for the moment, I have them shoved down the back of my jacket. It’s not obvious with the bow pinned on top! I’m making things more complicated for myself because I can’t yet bring myself to cut the wig. I doubt I’d readily want to take the style down again…but I do at least have that option. I like the idea of having a more sensible style though, rather than braids abruptly ending - it makes sense that they’d be piled up at the back…or stuffed down the back of my jacket pending being properly styled. The fringe is styled so as to hide the hairline, but proved to be a nuisance when it’s windy outside. I might need kirby grips to help keep the sides in place in future. The bow fabric looks like it’s meant to be a different shade from the rest of her outfit, but I decided to just stick with the same fabric. It’s safety pinned into the wig. So I might fiddle with the wig more, I'm on the lookout for better buttons, I might improve my brooch, and I'm also wondering if I might get another pair of stockings, double them up to make the band at the top less obvious, but it is very much wearable and DONE

20th March 2010


I had trouble finding any affordable white cotton velvet for the panel on the front of the jacket, so I actually used stretch velvet, lined it with gabardine left over from my Eowyn dress. I opted for laziness, and gave up on any idea of functional buttons and removable panels, so the white panel is sewn to the jacket down one side, then snaps down the other. I was one snap short, so just need to buy that and I’m done! I’ve also finally found suitable buttons, so those are on the front of the jacket and the sleeves. I’m still on the look out for affordable flat ones - not sure how much I like these rounded ones. I found gloves in a vintage shop - no way I wanted to make gloves if I could help it! The flounces which show at the ends of the sleeve are tacked to these gloves. I also now have the white stockings. Only remaining things are that last snap, closing up the lining, a prop book, and finishing up the wig.

27th February 2010


With all the extra fibre added in, I found I could braid the wig without no real difficulty in hiding the mesh. Difficulty in neatly braiding it was another matter… This was a quick braid to test out whether I had enough fibre in the wig. I think it’ll be fine, especially when I’ll be piling up the braids at the back a bit, and plonking the bow on, so a lot will be hidden by that. Just got to take my time and neatly braid it now!

27th February 2010


I probably had more extensions than I needed, but it doesn’t hurt for French braiding. I used my second weft along the back parting, since in trial runs of the braiding, I found the back mesh was showing a little. I was able to fold this weft into four, and used a small machine stitch to sew it together like that, making a sort of seam. I then hand stitched it down the centre back of the wig, and parted it with a hairdryer.

27th February 2010


This is the unstyled wig loose - all I’d done at this stage was to add that weft, which you can see forming the longer strands at the ends there.

27th February 2010


This is the weft in the process of being sewn in right round the hairline - I was able to double the weft up and still get it all the way round the wig. The extensions were added around the entire edge of the wig so the hairline would all be neat when the wig was pulled back, and also to supplement the volume of the fringe. I had to trim and style the fringe quite a bit to the correct length too

27th February 2010


The wig has been my main project recently. I’d vaguely thought about trying to style a white wig I already had, but it was too short, and also quite thin, so would have needed a lot of extensions added. I also decided that I would prefer a more silvery wig, rather than stark white. When CosWorx had a discount offer, I had a browse, and thought the silver colour of their exclusive wigs was what I needed - it’s fairly pale, and not especially grey. It even looks white in certain lighting, so that was exactly what I wanted - the whitest silver possible. I chose the Clover L style, which had the fringe I needed, plenty length for styling. I also bought some of their pre-wefted extensions. Here’s one of the wefts - that’s it folded in half, you can see they’re pretty generous

27th February 2010


I found the boots on eBay. Turned out they fitted nicely and I quite like them, so rather than chop them up to create the tongue bit, I bought some leatherette, and made tongues to add on. They slot on using kirby grips, and I might use some double-sided tape to help out too. Not entirely accurate, or perfectly neat, but preserves the boots the way I want to keep them whilst still making them a bit more like Alice’s

27th February 2010


I’ve kind of ground to a halt on this costume, since I’m stuck looking for various bits and pieces. I made the jacket and skirt from cotton velvet, so want the white panel on the front of the jacket to be the same fabric - I just can’t find any affordable white cotton velvet in Glasgow or Edinburgh. I don’t want to order online, since I only need a 30-40cm cut, and sites won’t sell less than a metre. Edinburgh Fabrics has stretch velvet, which may just have to do. Or I could not use velvet. I’m going with the wait-and-see approach for now. I also need to hunt down gloves, stockings, affordable buttons, and a bible. But in the meantime, I have found a few things to work on. I made the brooch from craft foam, because I like to avoid sculpting when I can. It has detail pressed in using a biro (I used the same lettering as on Karin’s necklace, not knowing exactly what’s on Alice’s) , was primed in pva then painted. There’s a brooch fastening glued to the back. The jacket has a chunk of white gaberdine on it at the moment, which I’m chopping into the right shape for the white panel. It’ll be interfaced and form the lining for the finished panel.

2nd February 2010


I attached the collar, put in the zip and sorted out the cuffs before lining the jacket. By “cuffs” I mean the ends of the sleeves are done so as to give the impression of a proper split in the sleeve. Not that it’ll ever be obvious, since it’ll always be shut (in fact, it’s hand sewn closed), but I wanted to give the appearance of the buttons there serving a purpose. (plus the overlap can be seen in at least one reference image) I was then ready to sew in the lining, so after sorting out the inevitable tweaks to make the blasted thing match the outer jacket, I succeeded. I decided against topstitching in the end, since I don‘t think it‘s very effective on velvet. There are clear lines in some references, which is why I was considering doing it, but on the other hand, there are plenty references not showing the lines! So I think I can do whatever I like. It’s certainly all sitting fine as it is. The white panel is probably going attach with functional buttons. If it behaves itself, I’d like to make it completely removable, so without it, the jacket will look just like this, but with the silver buttons as well. I might just have enough spare teal velvet to make an alternative matching panel to button on too.

31st January 2010


That’s the skirt now completed, and pictured in a fuzzy photo (whoops) over the underskirt. It’s terrifyingly short… but accurate.

31st January 2010


Because lining inevitably frustrates me so, I took a break from finishing up the jacket, and made the skirt. Dead easy to put together. As I anticipated with the velvet, I found it was best to divide the circle into 6 segments to have the nap all going the same way right round the skirt. In the photo, the hem and waistband weren’t yet finished, and the zip needs inserted.

29th January 2010


I’ve now assembled the jacket lining too. I wasn’t sure initially if I would bother with lining, because the design sometimes has topstitching apparent around all the edges, that would let me just hem things, but in the end, I decided to use 1m of kingfisher blue taffeta which I already had. I don’t have enough velvet for all the facings, only enough for the cuffs. The rest of the lining has just been cut slightly smaller around the hem and sleeves so the velvet will turn under.

28th January 2010


My fabric turned up yesterday! I already had the mock-ups sorted as my pattern, so everything could be cut out straight away. Velvet frays like crazy, so all the edges were overlocked as soon as the pieces were cut out. I got all that done last night, so today, I assembled the jacket. It was all easy to sew together thanks to the prior work on the mock-up.

24th January 2010


I did end up adding the extra ruffles, so here’s the finished skirt, with bias tape finishing the waist and side-opening. It just fastens with a hook and eye. Hopefully it can be used as a petticoat with some other costumes too.

23rd January 2010


I experimented with gathering using my overlocker for the first time, so the ruffles were fairly quick and painless to make (considering the amount I made, I wouldn’t have been happy hand-gathering them all!) I’ve made heaps of them, as you can see in the photo! I’ve only got one row sewn to the skirt so far, but I have enough for a second row, so I’ll probably go for it.

23rd January 2010


While waiting on the velvet, I got all the more boring work on the white fabric out of the way. I need to do this while my overlocker is threaded up in white anyway. The underskirt I’d made was finished with a rolled hem (that’s it draping in the back left of the photo) . I also cut out the flounces for the cuffs and finished them the same way. They’re complete circles too (one’s lurking on the right in the photo). All my remaining polycotton was cut into strips to make into ruffles, also with a rolled hem. You can get an idea of the ridiculous lengths I needed from the pic!

22nd January 2010


The last swatches I ordered arrived today! I’ve exhausted all my fabric shop possibilities, so I made my decision based on online options. I settled on velvet, and carefully figured out exactly how much I’d need using the mock-ups, taking into account having to have the nap going in the same direction on all the pieces. I found I could squeeze everything out of just 2m. I’ve gone for the colour on the bottom right in the photo. I like that the sheen to velvet gives it a range of shades depending on the lighting, since that makes it accurate to a number of variations in the references. It’s more teal than navy though, by my preference.

20th January 2010


I used New Look 6435 as a basic jacket pattern to get me started, and made a mock-up to sort out the slight adjustments and tweak the fit. I think I’ll have the jacket fasten with a separating zip at the centre front, then the white panel can close over the top of that. I imagine that’ll be most helpful for ensuring a close fit, and I’m considering making the white panel entirely removable, so the jacket can be worn without it and be a more normal design for ordinary wear. I also made a mock-up for the skirt with the white polycotton, not that it’s particularly necessary (it’s just a simple circle skirt), but it’ll let me more easily find the precise amount of fabric I need to buy, and the mock-up can become the underskirt anyway. Also, if I choose velvet, I’ll want to cut the skirt in more sections to have the nap all going the same way, so having a mock-up for reference will help out there.

12th January 2010


My problem, when only vaguely thinking about making this costume previously was finding fabric in a suitable colour. I haven't run across any suiting fabrics I'm happy with. With a deadline in place, I have to really put some effort into fabric hunting! I’ve ordered heaps of free swatches from a couple of sites. I found that Quickfabrics.co.uk has amazing range of velvets in a lot of promising shades. Seeing as a cotton velvet wouldn’t be terribly unsuitable for the costume, I got a bunch of samples. I felt bad ordering so many free samples, so I also bought 3m of white polycotton. I’ll be using it for the underskirt, cuffs, and maybe contributing towards mock-ups. Spare polycotton never goes amiss. Whilst waiting on my swatches, I’ve started on a mock-up in some spare fabric. I wanted to have it patterned out before ordering fabric, so I’d know how much to get. If I decide on velvet, it’s not all that cheap, so I’d like to get the quantity fairly precise. Also, when sewing with velvet, it’s better to avoid any stitch-unpicking, so having the pattern exact to start with is a good idea, and it won't hurt no matter what fabric I eventually choose.

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