Rinoa Heartilly - Final Fantasy VIII




I have wanted to cosplay Rinoa for years and she's still my favourite Final Fantasy character to date. I adore her style and the design of her outfit. It's unique but not in your face so you can still walk down the street without too many odd looks haha.
This was the very first costume I wore when I started cosplaying in October 2007 and it has had a few updates since with at least one more planned! I love this character so will keep working on the costume until I am satisfied with it =)

"Rinoa is a vivacious and lively young lady. She's not one to be coy and instead is very much open to her feelings and speaks her mind out. She also has this tenderness and warm-hearted compassion that endears her to other people. Usually concerned with the people close to her, she talks to them and let them express what's on their mind and heart.
Though the heroine, she's not at all that perfect. She sometimes act as a spoiled brat. An example of her brattiness was when she pestered Irvine to take the vehicle back. Also she can be stubborn and determined that sometimes lead her trouble which causes Squall to come and rescue her. As some people say, the damsel in distress sydrome. In this case, during the time of the sorceress' assassination plot, she headed to the sorceress' room alone and then getting her into trouble. "


~Please see my journals for more details on the construction of this costume as well as progress photos~

The duster and arm warmers were commissioned from Dream Angles. I altered the clasp slightly and changed the buttons.

The skirt I made myself by altering one I already owned.

I hand-sewed zips into a pair of black lycra cycling shorts.

The black clingy cami-top I brought from Peacocks.

The boots were bought from Shoe Zone and the buckles and straps (whatever they are...) I made myself.

The ring was a plain silver band I brought from a market stall years ago with her character in mind. The chain was taken from another necklace.

Ribbon on her arm is a simple black ribbon which is slightly elasticated to help it stay tied to my upper arm without cutting off my circulation.

I used my natural hair, I just added the clip in extensions.

* 2008 UPDATE *

New shorts with the zips sewn onto the top of them rather than cutting into the fabric.

The skirt was altered so it fit better.

I now have a wig for this costume (Mary by Sepia) which was ordered from International Wig.com. I trimmed the fringe slightly and hand-sewed in the highlights.

Bought sock glue to hold up the arm warmers.

I have a Squall plush to keep me company this time XD

I used a black eyebrow pencil to fill out my eyebrows more and to make sure I matched the wig. My hairs naturally quite dark so I didn't bother last year but tbh it made a big difference.

* 2009 Ayacon UPDATE *

I have new boots which are a more suitable design.

I bought brown contacts (my natural eye colour is blue).


This was the first costume I wore when venturing into the world of cosplay at the London MCM Expo in Oct 2007. I received quite a few compliments and got a buzz being in the masquerade. After that I was hooked and there was no looking back lol However I was amazed at the skill of some of the costumes I saw and realised that mine really needed improving! This was the start of a really expensive (but rewarding) hobby.

I wore Rinoa again on Saturday 25th October 2008 at the London MCM Expo. Same as last year I was asked for many photos and told my costume was very accurate. I'm glad I used a wig this time as I had more comments on my hair. Someone thought it was my actual hair lol Quite a few people found the Squall plush a very cute touch. I was wearing this costume as expo attendees broke the world record for the most people gathered dressed as a character from a game. I was number 80 of 342.

I wore Rinoa yet again on Sunday 16th August at Aya Revolution. I was asked for a fair few photos and friends who have seen me with my natural eye colour said the brown contacts looked really good. I had a long photo shoot with Death May Die and also found a group of other FF8 cosplayers who let me join in for some photos =3 The boots, as predicted, did kill my feet however. Ouch.


BlusterSquall posted on 5 August, 2008 - 22:36
I really like this cosplay. The duster is spot on, and I like how you've got some real attention to detail on the costume! It really suits you! :3

BlusterSquall posted on 18 October, 2008 - 21:47
OMG Squallplushissocute! Iwanttostealitfromyou!! <3

Mangamad posted on 21 October, 2008 - 23:38
Coolness, this should look better. ^^b

Orihime posted on 8 February, 2009 - 17:41
This is one of those costumes which is often done but rarely perfected - I loved your version, it was neatly made, the details are spot-on and you look just like her!

letmelive posted on 15 July, 2009 - 12:04
You make such a pefect Rinoa!

Leonie Heartilly posted on 16 July, 2009 - 17:03
Thanks a lot ^-^

Ranma1-2 posted on 21 August, 2009 - 21:39
Leonie I really Love your Rinoa cosplay! ^_^

Leonie Heartilly posted on 21 August, 2009 - 22:47
Thanks =3

HotshotShan posted on 21 August, 2009 - 23:22
Ohmygosh perfect Rinoa! My new favourite methinks, that material you used for the duster and arm warmers is ace. You're so pretty!!

Leonie Heartilly posted on 22 August, 2009 - 17:35
Aww thank you ^^ I commissioned the duster but hope to re-make my own using the same type of material.

Kaka Extreme posted on 25 August, 2009 - 16:59
this was gorgous! was glad i managed to catch a glimps of it at ayacon ^^

Leonie Heartilly posted on 25 August, 2009 - 19:42
That means a lot coming from you Kaka thank you ^^

MoonLily posted on 31 August, 2009 - 21:32
You look perfect! One of the best Rinoa cosplayers out there. ^_^

Zehphir posted on 21 September, 2009 - 22:40
Ooooh amazing!

LittleMissChikorita posted on 22 September, 2009 - 07:59
I bloomin love this outfit. That picture of you by the water is amazing.xx

DuskatNight posted on 19 February, 2010 - 19:52
-Squees- Such an adorable costume! :3

Leonie Heartilly posted on 21 February, 2010 - 21:38
Thanks ^^

leumas posted on 30 March, 2010 - 23:10
You suit this character well,you make a pretty Rinoa and I love the attention to detail like trying to get the boots right.Most people don't bother with the little things like that.Looks like a lot of love and hard work has gone into it

Leonie Heartilly posted on 31 March, 2010 - 22:39
Thank you ^-^ I'm just a picky arse lol I have updated this costume a few time but there are still improvements I think I could make. I do love this costume though

SlimDefinition posted on 29 May, 2012 - 16:23
I can't believe I've never seen this. Fantastic job!

Leonie Heartilly posted on 29 May, 2012 - 20:55
Thanks =) She's due a massive update but getting the right fabric is difficult.

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Progress Journal

30th July 2009

Brown contacts

Again my aim to be as accurate as possible kicks in, this time down to the colour of my eyes. I ordered a pair of Freshlook Colorblends contacts in "Brown" and love the effect, they look so natural! My actual eye colour is bright blue.

25th July 2009

New boots

I have some new boots which are a more suitable design than my last pair (more feminine also) however they're a size too small so I will be complaining about my sore feet a lot >_< The pains we go through for cosplay!

5th November 2008

Second version complete

Photos of my updated costume taken at the London MCM Expo Oct 2008.

Photographers: Silver & Paul Jacques

23rd October 2008

Squall plushie!

It's so cute =D

21st October 2008


Wig arrived. At first was annoyed to find it didn't actually have a side parting (although at least had a side fringe). Wished it was slightly longer too tbh but oh well. I trimmed the fringe slightly to shape it better and cut up the auburn highlights (managed to find the same seller on ebay again and order the same ones I got last year) and sewed them into the wig just under the hairline. Not a professional attempt but the finished result looked ok ^-^

10th October 2008


10th Oct-
Sock glue is my new friend. No more slipping arm-warmers yay!

15th Oct-
New shorts had the zips sewn straight on top of the fabric this time to stop bunching. I was worried would look bad but has actually come out okay =) The shorts are slighter shorter in the leg than my last pair though.

23rd Oct-
Fabric for my new skirt turned up and I spent a couple hours cutting, sewing, un-stitching and trying again before I admitted that I fail at making a simple mini-skirt and gave up rather frustrated. The fabric was a lot darker than I wanted anyway (what happens when you buy online) so I resigned to somehow patch up my old one.

24th Oct-
Right skirt attempt part 2. I hacked off extra material and re-stitched the waistline. The zip came out as I found the fit was a lot better when using buttons. The back of the skirt gapes open but thankfully the duster covers that, the front of the skirt looked how I wanted it too so all is good ^-^

25th Oct-
Realised that I should have used a black eyebrow pencil to fill out and darken my eyebrows last year as it looks lot better.

5th November 2007

First version complete

Photos of my first version of this costume taken during the masquerade at London MCM Expo Oct 2007.

EDIT 2011
Yes I shouldn't have entered as I didn't make the duster but I was a young newb and have learned better since lol I haven't entered a masquerade with a commissioned outfit since then (unless it's allowed like Aya, Kita & Ame).

Photographers: Mediev.net & unknown.

15th October 2007


My natural hair style is pretty much the same as Rinoa's so I dyed my hair black and got some auburn-brown hair extensions which I cut to the right length & width and clipped into my hair. You could see the hair grips close up however so I may try a wig next time with the highlights put through properly. I have had my hair dyed like hers properly a few years back though, shame I didn't cosplay then!

Photo- My hair in 2005 when I had it dyed like Rinoa's.

15th October 2007

Ring and chain

The ring was a simple silver band I brought from a market stall years ago with her character in mind. The way the chain links are on her necklace are unique and I couldn't find anything that matched it so just found the closest looking necklace I could (which involved me taking off a pendant and re-attaching the links) which I then put the ring through.

15th October 2007

Boots and buckles

Boots are actually meant to be boys school boots lol but they managed to fit me.They have 5 shoe lace holes and I tied them only up to the 4th as Rinoa does. The metal clasps she has on the front of the boots I made by taking apart 2 belts I got from Claire's Accessories and glueing the top part of the belt buckle to a black strip of elasticated material which I wrapped around the boot and tied underneath just in front of the heel. I'm quite pleased with how they turned out.

15th October 2007


I already had a pair of black lycra cycling shorts so I made an insertion at the front of each leg and sewed in silver zips. Unfortunately because of the nature of the material it bunches up =( I still need to work out how to avoid this.

15th October 2007


The skirt I made myself. I had a denim-type pleated skirt that looked the right colour so I took the zip out and un-stitched all the pleats till I was left with a scrap of fabric. Then I put it back together from scratch. I shortened the length, made the skirt wrap-around to create a seam at one side and sewed on 3 round silver buttons. Quite pleased with how it turned out but it does need a re-vamp.

Note: Yes the colour looks strangely different in every photo, it is the same skirt!

15th October 2007

Duster and arm warmers

Seeing as it was my first cosplay and I cannot knit I did have the duster and arm-warmers commissioned for me by Dream Angels as they produce the most accurate looking ones I have seen. Made from real sweater-knit fabric it clings to your curves &amp;amp; is gorgeous. Has the all important wings on the back of course. The arm-warmers are a tad loose so I intend to tighten them in the future or get some sock glue. I did alter the duster myself slightly however as the buttons needed changing (they were silver and I wanted them blue) and re-positioning on the clasp so it fit better.

Photo taken by Nert

1st October 2007

Reference images

Reference images