Velvet - Odin Sphere


There was an Odin Sphere group planned for MinamiCon 2009, and I settled on Velvet for a few reasons. It’s a relatively simple, and not too time-consuming costume - there was no way I could do much more in my final year at university, and with my dissertation due the week before Minami! Secondly, it was a chance to play with more expensive fabrics I wouldn’t normally use - when it’s a skimpier costume, it’s not as if I need quite so much fabric, so can afford the nicer varieties! Even so, I bought my fabric in the January sales, getting it half price. I chose a stretch velvet for the bright red, and burgundy two-tone taffeta for the skirt wrap thing. Finally, I wanted a chance at a more adventurous prop - I don’t normally do props at all, and the psyphers required me to work with new materials, as well as figure out how to have them light up. In the end the group consisted of two of us, but we added in Amy for Aya, and maybe we’ll have larger future groups.

My skirt thing was drafted with a bit of experimentation with a mock-up. It’s a semi-circle shape. The final product is lined in the same velvet, and topstitched. It’s sewn to a pair of black shorts. The taffeta wrap was figured out with a bit of trial and error. It’s wrapped around so that there are no obvious seams, stitched to the shorts in places to keep it neat, and it’s loose enough so that I can slip the whole thing on and off.

For the top, I began with a cheap stretchy black long-sleeved top. I cut the sleeves shorter for the puffy sleeves to be added. The puffs have a layer of gathered velvet, then lined strips over it on each sleeve. I decided to take that slightly longer route and making them as a sort of slashed sleeve. I thought it gave a better effect and would be better than box pleats, which I was worried might not stay in place as precisely as I’d like. I then cropped the top shorter, and added the box pleated ribbon. I had to pleat it all myself, since I was having no luck finding any to buy. Luckily, the process wasn’t too painstaking since I found out about using a fork to help made pleats! I had to use a fondue fork to make small enough pleats. Sounds wacky, but it gave me completely even pleats with no need to measure, and made the process much faster, easier and neater.

The stockings I ordered didn’t arrive in time for Minami. When trying to find a last-minute back-up, I thought about drawing the lines on stockings in pen. Unfortunately, this created wonderful lines on my skin, but not the stockings! Although I could have resorted to drawing on my legs before the masquerade (lol), I managed to sew the lines on the stockings by making 8 tiny seams on each one. Not that sewing ridiculously delicate hosiery is easy or a great idea, but it came out mostly alright, and lasted ok for the con. (this is why the lines are a bit uneven and wobbly in places in some photos…). I later got the proper stockings, and hand stitched the ruffled tops to them. The shoes are ballet flats from Primark. I’d hoped to find something more flattering with a slight heel, but I often have trouble wearing slip-on shoes, so when I found a cheap pair that actually fitted, I stuck with them.

The hood was patterned out again with mucking about with a mock-up. I also lined it completely in the same fabric, which although heavy, is great for making it big and puffy like it’s meant to be. My original gold stars were cut of card and glued on. I discovered I needed something more durable though, so my next set were cut out of thin plastic, then painted gold. This wasn’t ideal either, so my current set are embroidered patches I found on ebay. The hood has flexible wire around the opening to try to shape it more. It snaps on to the black lace veil thing, so it can’t slide backwards. The black lace fabric is the very last I had spare from my Karin costume. It could do with having smaller scallops, but it’s ok. I copied the art book images to make it as a long veil under the hood, which hides any messy bits of the wig styling that might show, and allows me to have the red hood down sometimes. The gold bead string is hand sewn in place, and the stars are also sewn on. The lace safety pins to the wig, and the wig has combs in it to grip into my hair. It’s a good thing I don’t always have to have the red hood up, since the combs digging into my scalp for long periods of time isn’t fun!

I already had the wig, it’s an Ashley wig from CosWorx. There are lots of clear hair ties, and hair spray to hold everything in place. As a final touch, I bought purple contact lenses, which are from Circlelens2u. They’re very effective, comfortable and affordable, so I’m glad I went for them! For AyaCon 2011, I used Freshlook Colorblends from contactlenses.co.uk in amethyst since they’re a cheap UK source and sell my exact prescription.

The big project was the psyphers, because I wanted to make them light up, and because I don’t usually make props. You can read about my attempt on the journal section. I later gave up on them and commissioned a fantastic set from Amethyst Angel which I had for October Expo 2011.

sonia_leong posted on 2 April, 2009 - 17:47
Hey sweetie!! Your Velvet was gorgeous, really well done on the chain crystals too! ♥ The quality fabrics really look so good ^w^

Amy-Lou posted on 2 April, 2009 - 17:53
Wonderful Velvet! I'm so impressed with all those ruffles and I love the glowy pic especially. Beyond the call of duty on the stockings XD

Sephirayne posted on 5 April, 2009 - 02:20
Stunning Costume. I loved the props and how they light up. You looked amazing. Great job.

Chii-ren posted on 7 September, 2009 - 21:41
very cool!

Anonymous posted on 12 December, 2010 - 17:48
Very cool! I like the velvet and the props! And your white skin is great for the genre :) by Create website on Sunday, 5 April, 2009 - 01:20

Pandora-Chi posted on 1 November, 2011 - 22:00
I couldn't believe how amazing you looked as Velvet!! Everything is so well made and accurate :) I really love your fabric choices! and it was lovely speaking to you again xx

Uni posted on 19 November, 2011 - 18:13
Fabulous as always! <3

Donna posted on 22 November, 2011 - 10:00
So beautiful!

26th August 2009

Psyphers 11

Shiny! But overall, the results are far from perfect. There’s a black spot where the lights themselves are, although that doesn’t usually show up in photos. The joins in the plastic are not very neat or strong. Being unable to use anything opaque inside, and having to ensure the crystals can open and close for me to access the lights limits a lot of what I can do about it though. On the other hand, it was all comfortably within my ability - I didn’t need diverse tools to deal with a thick plastic, or have to learn about wiring up electronics for the lights. It was also cheap. The plastic was 35p a sheet, the lights were 50p each and I already had the other materials I used. Can’t really complain if it’s not perfect when it was ridiculously cheap and simple. At least when it’s dark, you can’t see any of the rubbish bits, and the glowiness is sufficiently distracting! That said, these psyphers aren’t going to last well. I’d like to get more suitable lights, so I can have a switch to turn them on and off, which would then mean the crystals don’t need to open up, and I think that would improve things a bit, but problems like joining the plastic remain, so a re-think with new materials might be for the best.

26th August 2009

Psyphers 10

The final result (doesn’t everyone leave painted items to dry propped up in the toaster?) The black tops of the lanterns (which really look like squids when on their own…) were nice and easy. The domed top is half a styrofoam ball. The rounded rim for the dome’s base is sculpted from Crayola model magic, Pudding did this bit for me! The rim actually isn’t just a rim, it’s attached to a flat base going all the way underneath the styrofoam (like a gem setting). I thought it would be better to glue the styrofoam to a base like that, rather than sculpt only a sausage rim to glue around the edge. It also looks neater, in case the lanterns are viewed from below. The model magic is light enough so using a lot didn’t matter. The rest of the clay pieces are Fimo clay. I made the 8 squiggly legs, and curved pieces you probably can’t see well - they’re hooks at the tops which the chain appears to attach to. All of these clay pieces have lengths of wire sticking out of their ends, which I embedded in the clay before baking. They could then attach securely to the styrofoam/squishy model magic base by shoving the wires in, and a spot of glue on the ends to ensure they stayed. After painting them black, I attached the black tops to the red plastic crystals. I hollowed out an indentation in the base of each dome for the point of the crystal to sit in, and have a hole punched right through each dome. There’s a hole at the top of each crystal for the wire (the wire that wrapped round the lights and extends up). So each black top just pops over the wire and sits in place. Not even glued. The squiggly legs also aren’t attached to the plastic crystals. Last thing was attaching the chain. The attachment had to be secure and capable of load-bearing - the entire weight of each crystal would be on it. So, the wire sticking out of the top wraps round the end link of the chain. I then cut off the excess and painted the visible bit of wire (that’s what they were doing in the toaster - waiting for that last little bit of paint to dry!) Then the little hook I sculpted was glued in place over the wire. It looks like the chain is looped through that hook, as in the reference, when really the wire takes all the weight.

26th August 2009

Psyphers 9

Flipping one panel open isn’t quite enough, so the horizontal seam at the middle is only attached with tape at one side. That operates as a hinge. With the velcro unfastened, the entire thing flips open. (You can also see in this photo that I figured out an even better way to plug the light-leaking gaps in the outer crystal - tape the inner plastic layer into a cone! Then there's only one join to worry about, and it's solid all the way round where the corners are in the outer plastic)

26th August 2009

Psyphers 8

How do I get in to switch the lights on and off (and eventually change batteries)? One panel on each crystal isn’t glued, it just velcros shut. Not ideal, but that’s what I get for using those particular lights. In future, I’d like to buy more sensible ones, and have a nice convenient switch outside the crystal for turning them on and off.

26th August 2009

Psyphers 7

I discovered after testing the lights inside that the joins in the plastic were very obvious when the lights were on. The tiny gap at each edge became very noticeable when lit up! Instead of all glowing red, I got glaring white lines at each join where the light was escaping. How to resolve this? I tried a few things to plug the gaps, but anything opaque was a no, since it just caused an obvious silhouette. Unfortunately, that even included red paper; it blocked too much light and became visible when illuminated from behind. Eventually, I settled on using a second layer of red plastic, but positioned slightly askew so its joins were not exactly in line with the joins on the outer pyramid. This was great for getting a better red glow too, with only one layer, it had been more pinkish.

26th August 2009

Psyphers 6

Since each light is made up of 3 LEDs, I put tissue over each one to diffuse the light more evenly.

26th August 2009

Psyphers 5

I wrapped each pair of lights up in the wire, and left a long tail of wire which was to go up through the top of each crystal for later attachment purposes.

26th August 2009

Psyphers 4

The lights are battery powered spotlights which switch on and off when you press the fronts. They came with adhesive backs, so I stuck pairs of lights back-to-back. They still unscrew for accessing the batteries no problem. They’re secured inside the crystals with bendy wire.

26th August 2009

Psyphers 3

The inside

26th August 2009

Psyphers 2

I figured out a cardboard pattern, cut out all the triangular shapes, and assembled them using hot glue and clear tape on the inside. I was limited in how I could assemble the joins because any opaque tape or materials turned out to be too obvious once the lights were on. Silhouettes of tape and stuff aren’t what I was going for…

26th August 2009

Psyphers 1

The tale of how a prop-incompetent girl nevertheless attempted the glowy lanterns. Now you get to see all the ghetto-tastic fail involved! My original plan was to score my red plastic and fold it. Unfortunately, this didn’t work as the red coating would crack, revealing white. Having white edges maybe isn’t a big deal, but I really didn’t like how it looked, so gave up on doing it origami style, and went with lots of seams instead.

26th August 2009

Fork Pleats!

http://trulyvictorian.netfirms.com/videos/ForkPleats.MOV Great easy way to get guaranteed regular pleats with little effort. You can even make ones this tiny, but only if you use a fondue fork :P

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