Hana (Oiran) - Gate 7


London MCM Expo Comic Con May 2014

Eurocosplay UK rep; showcased 22 June 2014

Showcased 22nd June 2014 What is this?


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

LolaInProgress posted on 30 June, 2013 - 14:27
this will be stunning, GOSH STOP BEING SO TALENTED

Sephirayne posted on 9 September, 2013 - 23:12
Oh wow! So beautiful. Can't wait to see more.

Freyarule posted on 10 September, 2013 - 08:58
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)

Kei Lin Sama posted on 10 September, 2013 - 22:34
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!

Darkiekun posted on 24 September, 2013 - 21:29
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!

Kei Lin Sama posted on 24 September, 2013 - 21:55
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?

madmazda86 posted on 26 September, 2013 - 13:51
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! http://www.coscraft.co.uk/wig-accessories/2-cosplay-wigcap-black.html If you have lovely long hair you can braid it and loop it up on top of your head like so: http://www.andsewingishalfthebattle.com/long-hair-a-short-wigs 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! http://www.customwigcompany.com/q-and-a-answers-to-questions-from-our-friends-on-facebook/

Nesproxy posted on 11 November, 2013 - 18:30
Wow, can't wait to see this! ^_^

madmazda86 posted on 17 December, 2013 - 01:15
Kanzashi look fab!

Moonchild posted on 14 January, 2014 - 04:32
Oh wow this is looking incredible!! Can't wait to see more progress!!

Sephirayne posted on 14 January, 2014 - 15:11
Wow! That wig is looking incredible. Beautiful work.

Siouxsie James posted on 15 January, 2014 - 09:37
Awesome progress!!!!!! Well done on the wig, looks hard but you have done it so well!

Frederica la Noir posted on 19 January, 2014 - 13:49
astounding progress! can't wait to see more <3

Angelphie posted on 4 March, 2014 - 20:33
Very impressed so much detail and so much patience has already gone into this costume – beautiful work, I can’t wait to see more!

InfiniteJester posted on 26 March, 2014 - 11:05
This is looking so impressive - the wig in particular!

Cy-Fi posted on 26 March, 2014 - 20:26
Your wig skill is epic, thus on my watch list it goes. :)

Emzone posted on 28 March, 2014 - 20:17
The progress on this looks amazing! Can't wait to see the final result <3

Origin posted on 30 April, 2014 - 00:14
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!

Kei Lin Sama posted on 30 April, 2014 - 21:03
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!

Clockwork Dandy Noodles posted on 30 April, 2014 - 23:43
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.

Decora posted on 1 May, 2014 - 03:06
Wow, that headdress and wig, it's so intricate. This'll look great on you :)

Nesproxy posted on 11 May, 2014 - 10:57
It's looking absolutely incredible! <3

Sephirayne posted on 13 May, 2014 - 23:38
This is such beautiful work. Really love seeing your progress.

Monkey posted on 20 May, 2014 - 12:47
Can't wait to see you in this at the weekend! :) <3

Alias Cosplay posted on 20 May, 2014 - 21:56
Omg. I'm in love with all of this!

Sephirayne posted on 22 May, 2014 - 18:29
Really enjoying reading your progress. I love the mock up of the kimono in small scale. Great idea.

Exelia posted on 25 May, 2014 - 15:32
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 :)

Nesproxy posted on 26 May, 2014 - 14:05
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

Origin posted on 26 May, 2014 - 14:38
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

ArcaneArchery posted on 26 May, 2014 - 15:04
Congratulations to you and your epic wig for winning the EuroCosplay qualifier. Good luck for the October finals.

Siouxsie James posted on 26 May, 2014 - 22:28
Grats on getting through Eurocosplay qualifier!! :) can't wait to see pictures of this costume as I missed it at MCM!!

Mad Hamster posted on 29 May, 2014 - 16:35
I love all the hard work you put into this cosplay, it's so beautiful, congrats again on getting into Euro :)

Kei Lin Sama posted on 29 May, 2014 - 22:28
*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!

Shiro Hana posted on 29 May, 2014 - 22:31
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

theKillingDoll posted on 29 May, 2014 - 23:28
Very, very nice work. Real attention to detail. Well done on the Euro qualifier.

KishiCreative posted on 31 May, 2014 - 00:33
Absolutely amazing, stunning work. I adore every detail you put into this costume, it looks absolutely fantastic! :D

TheStarlightFairy posted on 31 May, 2014 - 01:04
This is gorgeous <3 well done on qualifying for EGC, you deserve it and I know you'll do us proud!

WhiteWraith posted on 31 May, 2014 - 09:37
This is such a gorgeous cosplay! All the detail is incredible. Well doen on qualifying for EGC!

KiraraYumi posted on 31 May, 2014 - 11:24
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

Ickle posted on 1 June, 2014 - 00:06
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!

Manticore Arts posted on 1 June, 2014 - 11:40
This costume is absolutely exquisite! I love it! All that attention to detail! Just beautiful!

Manticore Arts posted on 1 June, 2014 - 11:41
This costume is absolutely exquisite! I love it! All that attention to detail! Just beautiful!

Kitri du Lac posted on 1 June, 2014 - 17:59
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!

Emzone posted on 1 June, 2014 - 21:25
Congrats! It's such a gorgeous costume, truly deserved :'D

Moonlight_Requiem posted on 2 June, 2014 - 11:31
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

Kacela posted on 2 June, 2014 - 13:48
Congratulations on your Euro Cosplay qualifier! This is stunning, and the detail is immaculate. Another beauty by you.

LittleBlondeGoth posted on 2 June, 2014 - 21:56
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.

Sephirayne posted on 3 June, 2014 - 05:24
Such a beautiful costume. You look amazing. Congratulations on the Euro Cosplay qualifier. Very deserved.

Frederica la Noir posted on 3 June, 2014 - 11:10
Congratulations on winning the Qualifier! Such a beautiful costume :) x

electrospectrum posted on 3 June, 2014 - 16:21
absolutely gorgeous and congrats on winning the qualifier!! the wig alone is stunning, can't wait for anymore shots of the outfit! c:

J-Po posted on 5 June, 2014 - 17:04
cant believe i have not commented on this, it looked absolutley beautiful :)

InfiniteJester posted on 6 June, 2014 - 00:10
So amazing in the final outfit! Really pleased you won with it!

Lady Bahamut posted on 6 June, 2014 - 14:51
This is a stunning cosplay of Hana *_* The amount of detail and work that's gone into it is crazy!

Sammykins posted on 12 June, 2014 - 07:25
This is such an inspirational cosplay! So much thought has gone into it! Much luck for euro cosplay :-)

TheStarlightFairy posted on 22 June, 2014 - 21:03
Congrats on a well deserved showcase <3 this really is breathtakingly lovely!

madmazda86 posted on 23 June, 2014 - 07:04
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 :)

Sephirayne posted on 23 June, 2014 - 20:29
So happy this got showcased. Congratulations. Well deserved. <3

BladeyCakes posted on 26 June, 2014 - 00:23
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*

Kei Lin Sama posted on 26 June, 2014 - 22:39
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.

Nesproxy posted on 29 June, 2014 - 20:29
Many congratulations on the showcase, you're an absolute legend. <3

Anonymous posted on 29 June, 2014 - 21:15
Congratulations on Eurocosplay Qualifiers! Your costume is gorgeous, a lot of work, well done! :D

Kitri du Lac posted on 3 September, 2014 - 20:55
Wow, I just love the research going into this. Incredible work!

madmazda86 posted on 18 September, 2014 - 20:25
I am SUPER EXCITED to see this in October :D :D

Mighty Odango posted on 19 September, 2014 - 10:45
The upgrades look excellent! They should take your costume from stunning to just about perfect!

Cy-Fi posted on 24 October, 2014 - 08:42
Brake a leg and all that 😀

Anonymous posted on 5 November, 2014 - 00:07
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

Clockwork Dandy Noodles posted on 13 June, 2015 - 11:47
You were elegant as ever my Cherry :) I love this cosplay everything is detailed and perfect <3

Alias Cosplay posted on 13 June, 2015 - 13:25
Beautiful work :)

Ranma1-2 posted on 14 June, 2015 - 00:21
Awesome cosplaying!

Moonchild posted on 30 November, 2015 - 13:54
So so beautiful <3

Wig - add more combs/clips in the sides of the wig
Wig - kanzashi sanding (central groove)
Wig - kanzashi sockets to be tidied and secured
Wig - front dangling veils to be re-made
Wig - neatening the front wefts
Wig - repositioning of front kanzashi (better accuracy needed)
Wig - cover plate under the butterfly bun
Wig - operculum for holes in the 'ears' of the butterfly bun

Total cost: £0.00

6th January 2015

Overview of new materials bought for Hana costume

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!

6th January 2015

Hana wig

Costs of materials used to make Hana's wig

6th January 2015

Hana kimono costs

All the fabrics, paints and embroidery costs

6th January 2015

Hana costs (miscellaneous items and tools)

Includes costs of new tools bought

6th January 2015

Costs of upgrading Hana for the EC 214 finals

Upgrade costs

29th December 2014

EC scores

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)!

19th October 2014

Oiran shoes (koma geta)

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

17th October 2014

Hana's red uchikake is finished

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

14th October 2014

Red uchikake re-made

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!

18th September 2014

The blue kimono is finished!


13th September 2014

Obi harness upgraded

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

11th September 2014

New kimono fabric

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.

9th September 2014

More silk painting

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

8th September 2014

Silk painting

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!

6th September 2014

Shibori fabric

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.

5th September 2014

Shibori test results

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

5th September 2014

Shibori knots

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

5th September 2014

Shibori reference

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:

4th September 2014

Making the makura

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.

4th September 2014

Makura references

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!

3rd September 2014

The turned collar

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!

3rd September 2014

Nagajuban front

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

3rd September 2014

Authentic undergarments

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

2nd September 2014

Oiran shoes

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.

7th July 2014

Thoughts on the wig

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.

26th June 2014

RSpanner's stage sketch

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!

12th June 2014

Performance chosen

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.

11th June 2014

Hana performance ideas

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

29th May 2014

Obi applique 2

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.

29th May 2014

Obi applique

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

29th May 2014

Obi water pattern

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.

29th May 2014

Reference - Japanese gold

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!

29th May 2014

The journal continues - obi embroidery

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

26th May 2014

One broken toe later..

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!

22nd May 2014

Obi makura

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

22nd May 2014

Obi corset

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.

22nd May 2014

The kimono top

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

22nd May 2014

Kimono wave pattern

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.

22nd May 2014

Kimono mockup miniature

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

20th May 2014

Oiran wig complete

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

20th May 2014

Oiran wig top view

Here's the top

20th May 2014

Oiran wig complete - side view

It's tipping over!

20th May 2014

Back view

What a beast!

20th May 2014

Bun attachment to the base

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.

20th May 2014

Leaf kanzashi

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

20th May 2014

Crested kanzashi

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

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?

29th April 2014

Putting it together

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.

3rd March 2014

Oiran combs (2)

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

3rd March 2014

Oiran combs

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

2nd March 2014

The sides of the wig (2)

The sides, back, and butterfly bun are complete.

2nd March 2014

The sides of the wig

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

2nd March 2014

The back of the wig

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

2nd March 2014

Eri-ashi progress

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.

2nd March 2014

Eri-ashi (reference pic)

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'.

18th February 2014

Kanzashi flower finished

A nice break from sanding resin and gluing hair to foam

18th February 2014

Kanzashi flower in progress

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

18th February 2014

Hairpin sockets

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

18th February 2014

Ring support for the butterfly bun

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

13th January 2014

More hairpins

Hair pins fan out from each side of the wig

13th January 2014

Oiran wig back view

Here's the back..

13th January 2014

Attaching the bun to the wig base

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

13th January 2014

Katsura - the base for the oiran wig

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?

13th January 2014

Oiran combs

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

13th January 2014

Attaching kanzashi to the butterfly bun

Surprisingly heavy!

13th January 2014

Coral beaded kanzashi

More Primark kanzashi

13th January 2014

Hairstick kanzashi

Made from leftover Primark bits

13th January 2014

Oiran bun

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

17th December 2013

Sanding the kanzashi

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.

18th November 2013

Casting with polyester resin

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.

10th September 2013

Making the butterfly bun (part 2)

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

9th September 2013

Decorative knotwork for the butterfly bun

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!

9th September 2013

Making the butterfly bun

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

9th September 2013

Kanzashi mockup

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.

26th August 2013

Horrible wig

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!

14th August 2013

The wig

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!

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