Terra Branford
Dissidia Final Fantasy NT

Cosplayer: Angelphie

Variant: Maiden of Benevolence I

Status: Complete

Condition: Not Set

22nd July 2018: Wig The wig already had a couple of clips to secure it but putting it in a ponytail, albeit one that’s quite nicely balanced on top of my head, wasn’t ideal so I’ve bought some tape to secure the hairline.

No make-up test shown in this photo, but I plan to mix up some acrylic paint to match the wig and will apply it to my eyebrows with a mascara wand.

I will be wearing purple contact lenses too, I chose the EOS Fairy Violet from Pinky Paradise.

22nd July 2018: Wig The ponytail holder is made from craft foam. After trying and failing to neatly draw the designs on with hot glue and puff paint, I decided on masking tape of all things which is more subtle and let me get more precise lines. I stuck a couple of layers to of tape together on my cutting mat, drew out the design and cut it out with a knife. It then could simply be stuck to the foam. I primed it with pva glue and painted it with gold enamel. The beads are glued on and there’s also brooch fastening stuck to the back which lets me clip it to the wig.

22nd July 2018: Wig I had plenty spare extensions so experimented with curling them before starting on the ponytail itself. I do have a curling iron, but wasn’t having much joy with it so I used hair straighteners to heat the hair before wrapping it around rollers and blasting it with a hairdryer. I think this was more effective since I could leave the rollers in to let the hair cool, whereas the curling iron just didn’t allow the curls time to set. After taking out the rollers, I used a hairdryer to straighten out the curls into the very slight wave that I was looking for.

I then cut and styled the front of the wig. I used got2be glued hairspray and a hairdryer along with a bit of backcombing to get the fringe to stand up. I did find the curling iron useful here for the little curl to the ends of the fringe and other strands. The little wispy baby hairs at the hairline were curled around a pencil.

22nd July 2018: Wig After the first few layers were secured, I stopped chopping off the hair and started to form the actual ponytail.

22nd July 2018: Wig I took Kukkii-san’s approach to ponytails http://www.cosplay.com/photo/1856065/, i.e. pulling up hair layer by layer using a hairdryer and hairspray to train the wefts into going in the right direction. I did a couple of rows of wefts at a time. For the first few layers I cut off the tail and stubbed it using caulk. This formed a sturdy base for the rest of the ponytail and helped to thin it out. The wig was so thick that the ponytail would end up too heavy if I pulled up all the hair into it and there was no need since Terra’s ponytail is quite wispy.

22nd July 2018: Wig I initially looked for a ponytail wig but wasn’t completely sold on the available options. I was aiming for a proper updo rather than a clip-on. Of the available wigs in actual ponytails, I knew I’d probably have to redo the style anyway in order to make the ponytail higher and to adjust the wig to fit me, plus add extensions so it wasn’t necessarily going to make things easier/cheaper. So I decided to embrace making things difficult for myself and ended up choosing CosCraft’s Vayne wig in Midnight Green since I liked the idea of a lace front, I also bought a pack of matching wefts. I then revisited my early days of cosplay, when there were very limited wig options, to put it into a ponytail myself.

I first sewed a double row of wefts along the bottom of the wig so that the edge would all be covered once pulled up. It had been so long since I’d done any styling like this that I needed to sort out a wig head. I used this approach: https://youtu.be/dtMw5DnNTZM of clingfilm and tape to make a kind of cast of my head then padded out that shell on a wig head. I pinned the wig on, separated out the section at the front that I would be leaving loose and clipped it out of the way, then marked with a pin where the ponytail should go.

22nd July 2018: Pauldrons Done! I'm glad I chose metallic paint.

22nd July 2018: Pauldrons The upper pieces are glued to the lower ones with Araldite and there are snaps glued on to attach them to the dress.

I found they don't stay on my shoulders too well so I glued some fabric to the underside which forms a little channel for a strap to be threaded through. While I did want the costume to be strapless, the clear straps are not obvious underneath the pauldrons and, seeing I was giving in and adding straps, I made the most of it and have the straps connect to the bra I'd fitted the dress over and it's secured to the dress lining with a few stitches so everything is well and truly going to stay in place.

22nd July 2018: Pauldrons They were heat-sealed all over and primed with layers of pva glue before painting with Deco Art Americana metallic acrylic. Priming and painting involved draping them over pint glasses to paint the outside, then balancing them like in the photo to do the interiors!

22nd July 2018: Pauldrons They were then shaped using a heat gun. I needed to get a good fit as any subsequent bending would be liable to crack any paint I applied (despite this I ended up with cracks on one piece at the priming stage, but they were easily fixed with Polyfilla and some sanding).

22nd July 2018: Pauldrons I started out with some spare, rather battered-looking foam from an old exercise mat which let me pattern out the pauldrons and experiment with heating and shaping them. It was difficult to bend the foam in two different directions – over my shoulder, but also upwards at the edges. I experimented with scoring the underside, but eventually found just some shaping with a heat gun was best.

Once I had my pattern, I cut the final pieces from 5mm cosfoam I'd bought from CosCraft. While the pieces were still flat they had their edges sanded with a dremel then finished up with some finer sandpaper by hand. I also pressed in the designs with a knife then opened them up with a heat gun.

22nd July 2018: Belt & Earrings I bought matching red beads to make the earrings which are assembled with some small gold beads. I incorporated some gold stud earrings I already owned.

The belt is a thin fabric tube that I managed to turn and I used it to cover a narrow belt I already had. The style of buckle was helpful since it made it easy to add my own decorative buckle on top without affecting the functional closure. I used black worbla moulded over the functional belt buckle, primed it with mod podge, painted it with gold enamel then glued it on with Araldite. I also spread some of the glue across the entire back of it to reinforce the worbla.

15th July 2018: Sash Badly in need of ironing, but complete!

The lilac fabric is cotton from Minerva Crafts as it happened to be the right colour, it’s not really the ideal weight but other lilac fabrics I found which draped better weren’t opaque enough (and dyeing the silk scarf was enough, I wasn't keen enough to dye the lilac too!) I only had a metre of it which was just enough so I experimented with some spare fabric first to drape the sash and figure out how I was going to make the bow. The bow is assembled from a bunch of separate pieces which I gathered to create the right effect and also padded out with some wadding. It all took a lot of hand sewing. I sewed on one end of the pink scarf I’d dyed to form the tail of the bow and sewed the rest of the scarf along the hem of the sash. It attaches to the dress with snaps.

I bought the gold chain on Etsy, it’s partially hand sewn in place, but isn’t behaving quite how I’d like so I may need to revisit it. Finding the red bicone beads was challenging (another Etsy find). They’re strung together using head pins and some thin gold chain and jump rings I had spare. I also used masking tape and gold acrylic to carefully paint the lines on them. The round green beads were more readily available (on Amazon) along with end caps for them (Ebay)

15th July 2018: Sash My starting point was the fringed sash since I knew I’d have to find an existing scarf or dye fringe to match fabric. I found Dharma Trading sold affordable plain silk scarves with fringe so I ordered one along with some of their magenta acid dye. It was all cheap enough that I wasn’t in danger of customs charges so I didn’t mind ordering from the US. Being able to dye it myself was actually ideal too since it let me attempt a gradient.

15th July 2018: Dress I ironed most of the HTV on while the dress was still flat (although it wasn't exactly flat around the bust so that was trickier) then inserted the invisible zip and sewed up the centre back seam. I left the gold designs on the back until after I'd inserted the zip since the designs go across the centre back seam – I ironed them on with the zip closed and sliced through the vinyl with a scalpel.

The photo also shows more snaps for the pauldrons and a couple at the hip to secure the sash. You can also see more armour-induced design aspects: it turned out that while the dress fits nicely and doesn’t need straps; the pauldrons do. So I made the most of them and the clear straps are secured to both my bra and the dress lining.

15th July 2018: Dress It improved once I added the gold designs. I also used the mock-up to help me sketch out the gold designs and confirm where they should be placed. I then made paper templates of the designs and after refining those, traced around them on to the heat transfer vinyl and cut them out.

(the snaps you see in the photo are for attaching the shoulder armour)

15th July 2018: Dress I also used the mock-up as the pattern for the outer red satin dress. I had marked where the white trim should go so cut up the mock-up to form those pieces, added seam allowance and cut them from some spare white sateen. I made the white section for the hem twice as long as it needed to be so it could be folded in half as a neat solution to hemming the dress. It was totally a sexy Mrs Claus dress at this stage!

15th July 2018: Dress The dress is a drastically shortened Kwik Sew 3516. I made a mock-up to check the fit and length and adjust the neckline’s shape a little. I then took it apart and traced off the pattern for the lining (pictured) which ends at the hips. I’d decided on just a supportive bodice lining to which the boning channels could be sewn, especially since all the raw edges on the outer dress are overlocked so there was no need to fully line it. You can just make out the edge of the lining where it ends but that’s hidden by the sash over the dress. The lining fabric is coutil, because I had some spare, and I was also able to use spiral steel boning that I already had. I sewed boning casings on each seam.

15th July 2018: Boots Done! Definitely not completely happy with them, but it's probably the best I can manage with the satin. This was the first time I’ve made a full cover including the sole and I think it's worked out ok so I might try it again to make removeable covers for other projects in future.

15th July 2018: Boots The downside of these particular boots is that the heels have a suedette finish so I didn’t want to paint them and the soles. To get a nicer finish, I drafted the fabric cover to include the heel and sole. I used spare black stretch fabric with stick-on soles to protect it.

I applied the gold designs to the covers while they were flat, sewed up all the seams except the centre back which needed to be left open to slot the boot in, then sewed it closed by hand. The top edges have a facing that extends a little way down the inside of the boots for a neat finish and this is glued in place to ensure the cover stays up.

15th July 2018: Boots The gold designs on Terra’s boots seem to be raised shapes. I was reluctant to try to imitate this since it makes things more difficult - I knew if I stuck foam on around the toe area it would only get creased as the shoe flexed when I walked. So I continued with heat transfer vinyl which keeps it consistent with the rest of the costume. There is a bird-type shape further up the boot which I might revisit and add on in 3D form though, but I’m not sure how silly it’d look.

I covered both boots in clingfilm and masking tape to make a pattern. On one boot I drew on the seam lines for a cover then I used the other boot to mark out the gold designs. I ensured that the seams would avoid the designs as far as possible – disadvantage of the HTV is it doesn’t look good over a seam. While this meant I couldn’t have a simple centre front seam, I was able to draft a shape for the toe area which worked out ok. It was challenging since the red satin fabric I was using has zero stretch and was not forgiving, so I made a mock-up to test and refine my pattern first. I also used some heavy interfacing here so the covers hold their own shape and it’s not so obvious that they’re a bit loose and don’t fit the boot underneath precisely.

15th July 2018: Boots I was on the lookout for a pair of boots with a suitable heel and pointed toe and was lucky on eBay to get a pair of ex-display boots from Office. Other than the heel and shape, it didn’t matter what the shoes looked like since I’d be covering them entirely, so I was very happy to bid on super-cheap brand new boots that just happened to be a bit scuffed! They didn’t have a zip which I always find useful when it comes to covering and adapting shoes and I was able to cut them down to the right shape easily.

15th July 2018: Bracers The lining is the spare cotton I'd used for my mock-up with some interfacing. The pieces were cut shorter so they cause the gold edges to fold over and there was no need to topstitch (I tested it out and found sewing over the vinyl would have been fine, but I like the invisible finish). Pressing was a little scary since I didn’t want to melt or dislodge the vinyl, but I got away with it using a low heat and press cloth.

15th July 2018: Bracers I bought red duchess satin from Edinburgh Fabrics and gold heat transfer vinyl from CosCraft and tried making the bracers first as proof of concept.

I first made one in spare fabric to check the fit (this was later recycling as the lining), which was important since I wanted to use a close-ended invisible zip for the closure. I was hoping I could get away with this but I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get the bracers over my hands without them unfastening entirely. Thankfully it turned out to be fine.

I sketched out the gold designs on paper first. I used some artistic licence since I was struggling to figure them out exactly (I lost patience with trying to take screenshots and scrutinise them) and I didn’t want to make the designs too complicated so I ensured that they don’t cross the seam where the zip is. Each bracer has the same design, albeit mirrored.

When I was happy with my design, I cut it out, taped it down and traced around it on to the HTV’s backing. I then cut out the vinyl with a scalpel, cutting inside the lines I’d drawn. It was a bit fiddly, but the designs aren’t too difficult to cut by hand and it adhered to the satin fine. I also used the HTV for the trim, so it was all cut as one continuous piece which made aligning it all much easier.

Amy-Lou avatar

Amy-Lou - 2nd August 2018
Such a lovely costume, happy I got to see it in person!
HTV is truly magical, it’s a game changer.

Ranma1-2 avatar

Ranma1-2 - 17th December 2019
Fabulous! Thanks for your progress logs too. I find them so very helpful to see how you make things. Allways learning new tips from others.. You look amazing.