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hakuloveszabuza
Progress

Last online 7 years ago

Truro

Joined: 25th Oct 2007

Completed costumes: 15

Photos uploaded: 78

Progress journals: 20

Events attended: 10

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This was a last minute costume (well two months before an event is last minute for me) as I had suddenly realised that the costume I had planned for the May MCM Expo wasn't going to be completed on time. A lot of my free time had been taken up with other life stuff and I just didn't think I could finish my planned costume to the level of detail I would have been happy with and without totally stressing me out.
Anyway I decided to bring forward another simple costume that I was certain I could complete in time and allow me time to continue with the other life stuff that demanded my time. I love the series Game of Thrones and had been planning to cosplay someone from the show for a while now. I knew that I couldn't pick a character with too much detail and as I have a fondest for both Ned Stark and the colour green Catelyn Stark seemed like the perfect choice.
I brought the Burda pattern 7977 for Cat's under gown and the required amount of fabric in a pale green colour that was on offer at half price. After cutting out the paper pattern and the fabric I was all keen to get working on my costume when my mini sewing machine decided this was the perfect time to die on me. So I had to hand sew the whole costume as no one near me had a machine I could borrow and I couldn't buy a new one as I had a small budget for this costume than I would normally as I had spent quite a bit on my original planned cosplay. Hand sewing the under gown was slow work but to be honest quite relaxing and luckily I had give myself plently of time to complete the costume.
Once the under gown was finished I started on the over dress/coat this is my favourite part of the costume. I used a Butterick B4732 pattern for a long evening coat and just added a few inches either side of the front hems to ensure the fullness of the coat. I also had to change the original pattern had a high collar and the coat I wanted had no collar. For this I used a white cotton fabric so that I would be able to dye the fabric to desired dark green colour as I couldn't find any dark green coloured fabric. As the coat would take a lot of fabric (I had two metres left from another costume that I would use as well as the fabric bought)I decided to make up the coat and then dye it as I couldn't get it all in my washing machine. I used a dark green cotton as I have been caught out before sewing together a garment with a pale cotton that even when told it will take the dye hasn't so I thought it was safer to use the dark cotton. I left the hems of the bottom of the coat (I had extended these beyond the paper pattern) and the bottom of the sleeves so that I could finish these hems after the dyeing process.
To created the long sleeves I used the sleeves froma McCall's M4490 pattern for a mediveal gown and the sleeve pattern from the coat pattern. I used the upper part of the coat pattern in order to make sure the sleeve top and arm hole matched. I also needed to make the upper part of the sleeve quite narrow, then I blended the bottom part of the McCall's sleeve pattern to achieve the desired look of the mediveal style sleeve.
The dark green dye took really well, I was very happy with how the coat had turned out. Once I had iron the now dyed coat I finished off the hems on the botton of the sleeves and the bottom of the coat after I had decided how long I wanted the coat to trail upon the ground.
Next I added the fur trim to the edge of the sleeves, I made the trim from strips of fake fur which I glued in half and then sewed to the hems of the sleeves.
The ruffled collar and cuffs which would have been the under garments I decided to make as singles pieces. This was partly because I had some muslin fabric left over from another costume but not enough to make a whole gown and partly because this should make the costume less hot to wear. The ruffled collar was made by cutting out two large circles from the muslin, I cut a hole for my head. I sewed the raw hems together (at the head hole) then sewed a channel of about an inche so I could thread some elastic and gather up the fabric. The sleeves were made by making two tubes of muslin which I would wear under the sleeves of the coat and gown like long gloves, these would be kept up by two loops of elastic. I decided to paint the muslin with a mixture of black, white and green watered down fabric paint as I wanted to get a more pleasing shade to match in with the other colours of the costume.
I bought a cheap wig as the budget was quickly being used up, it wasn't bad for the money but I would like to get a better wig in style and colour when I wear this costume again or do another version of Cat.
Over all I am really pleased with how this costume turned out especially as I made it in less than a month which is great going for me. I know I am going to have a lot of fun cosplaying as this character and hope to do a photo shoot with this costume toward the end of the year as Winter is coming ^^

Due to too much going on in my life outside of cosplay I have decided with regret to put this costume on hold until a future date. I am proud of what I have done so far but feel that to make a good job to the rest of the costume I need to devote more time and money which I do not have at the moment with a wedding to plan and now a move of house.

Progress is coming along slowly but surely which is good as I roughly 8 days off before Christmas as I now have to work Sundays. The only good thing is the over time will partly pay for more cosplay supplies because early next year I want to make a start on my COG armour.
The two sleeveless t-shirts I bought from E-bay arrived the other day and so along with two metres of pale cotton fabric I dyed everything dull grey. I am not too sure on the colour as I was expecting all that fabric to dye a shade lighter and the t-shirts haven't dyed too well but I am sure everything will come together in the end. I am going to throw the combat trousers once I have made them into the machine everytime I wash the towels to fade them a bit more as they look newly dyed at the moment. I am not too worried about the t-shirts as they are just really something to wear under the armour although I still want to add the surname and COG logo so I can get a few shots of the costume without the chest armour.
I have started a few tests with staining using tea, coffee and brown dye to age and darken the fabric for Bernie's scarf but still awaiting the scraps of fabric to dry out before I decide.
I have made a start on making Bernie's dreadlocks, it is amazing how much hair it takes to make only a few dreadlocks. I will post up the method I used to make them and better photos once I have begun to add them to the wig cap but so far I am pretty pleased with the results. I have sealed the ends with fabric glue as I was worried that in time the ends might unhurl but the glue seems to be holding and I will add a dash of grey paint once they are finsihed to hide the glue.

Okay there has been a change of plans since I started writing this journal, mainly that I am now able to attend the MCM May Expo next year so 'Bernie' is a go.
I am now a very happy Gears Girl especially as I have had the honour of being asked to join an ever growing Gears of War group. I am so excited about this project as not only will I have fellow Gears to share the GOW love with but everyone in the group is so friendly and f**king awesome, I don't know you guys well yet but I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with for the group.
Anyway I have gathered quite a few reference pictures and been forcing my hubby to be to play Horde as Bernie so I can take notes, he doesn't seem to mind and since he didn't know anything about Bernie he's growing to love the aging sniper as much as I do.
Progress has been slow as I have been pretty busy at work (someone was let go) and so have been too tired to do much but play Gears (all three clocked in co-op so I had a lot of Dom action he he) and read the novels. But as I need to get my ass in the gear as I so want to make a good go of this costume I have finally got myself into my workroom to make a start.
So far I have bought myself some COG Tags, not sure if Bernie still wears hers but I have wanted some for ages so it was a great excuse to get them. I have also got myself a 'Chainsaw' lancer (which my guy very kindly decided to give me for Christmas as I don't want anything else and he knows how much I have wanted one) it only took four attempts on ebay as due to Gears 3 coming out a lot of people were bidding on them. I like the Retro lancers as well but to me the weapon that sums up Gears is the chainsaw lancer and after reading the scene when Berine first gets to use one on the battle field I knew I had to go for that style of lancer. I am pretty impressived with how it looks even in the gold state and they are so big and heavy, by that I mean a good weight not cheap nasty plastic but I guess after several hours carrying it about it WILL feel heavy. I am not sure how I am going to paint the lancer up yet as being the most expenive thing I have had as a prop I am a little scared but I feel it needs something so I will have to research that before I get out the paints. I am looking into maybe having a Longshot as well because Bernie is a sniper after all but that will all depend on time, money and getting my lancer, COG armour and myself from Cornwall to the docklands on my own (there is never a Raven around when you want one he he)as I don't want to ruin anything.
On the actually costume front I have purchased fabric for her combat trousers and two sleeveless t-shirts (from ebay) I just need to decide what I am going to make her 'under the Cog armour' corset from before I dye everything dull grey. I love the dirty, grudgy colour palette in Gears but it is a bitch to match colours even with high res pictures.
As money is tight on this costume (wedding are sooo expensive) I have been searching through my pile of stuff bought for costumes yet made and I have been lucky with finding fabric and some fake leather that I hope will be useful for Bernie's costume. I have dyed a piece of cheap flood damaged fabric I picked up at the start of the year and as it was white cotton I was able to dye it a rusty red colour. This will be the basis for Bernie's scarf and hair ties, the colour isn't too bad but will be better once I have aged it and added weathering.
Lastly I spent the afternoon scalping an old grey wig to use as a base for Bernie's dreadlocks. I hope to make a start on those tomorrow, pretty excited about her wig as it is one of my favourite parts of her character design.

Due to getting married next year I am not intending to wear this costume until 2013 (unless I give it a test run with a photoshoot somewhere near home) so I hope there are still some fellow COGS about to help'Granny' kick some locus butt. Anyway as I have wanted to do a Gears of War costume for so long (kisses all the Epic Team for finally putting Girl Gears in the game)I want to take my time with this cosplay as I have a feeling as with any awesome, crazy costume this is going to be hard work.
Already I have started to collect up any reference art I can find on Bernie, there are a few nice shots but I am counting the day until she gets released a DLC cause then I not only get to play as her but I get to study the costume from the back. I am hoping that she gets a figure released but if not I will get the Anya one if only to keep my Marcus one company on the shelf lol
It really sucks not having a printer at the moment (roll on xmas) as I want to print off not only Bernie pictures but the weapons too. I might have to go on a artbook hunt cause I need a good picture of her weapons as I have a feeling they are going to have to be built from scratch which should be fun.
I have also ordered the Gears novels that feature Bernie as it is about time I read them and it will be good to learn more about her character and background.

I have been pretty busy since my last journal entry as my costume is eighty percent finished. It took about three weeks (working a few hours each evening, days off and Sundays) to completely cover the bodice in fabric. It took a while to pin and then hand sew each piece in place and I took the bodice in as it wasn’t as close fitting as when I first started to add the details.
Once I had finished detailing the bodice I put that aside and started work on the skirt. The skirt in essence was detailed the same as the bodice but with long pieces of fabric. I stared at the top of the skirt and slowly worked my way down to the hem. Once the whole skirt was covered I then added a full row of fabric pieces just above the bottom hem of the skirt. I did this to finish off the bottom of the skirt, to hide the hem and add to the effect of the gown being earthy, organic as well as hopefully giving movement to the costume when I walked. As the skirt was already very heavy I decided only to add a few longer pieces of fabric (basically what was left of the material after I had detailed the bodice and skirt) mainly to the back section of the skirt. The weight of the skirt also prompted me to add another strip to the waistband to length it. I did this as the heaviness of the detailing of the skirt was pulling it down and I feared if I lost more weight I would find it hard to keep the skirt in position. By adding the extra strip to the waistband I would be able to tighten the waistband at the top of the skirt if needed without affecting the shape of the skirt form the waistband downwards. As the skirt was heavier than I expected when I first started on the detailing I decided to unpick the hem of the ‘bum pad’ so I could added more stuffing to make it firmer that way the heaviness of the skirt should not affect the shape I wanted for the bustle.
After a while searching for braid in my local fabric shop I sectioned off the collar by working in roughly five inch intervals gathering up the fabric and sewing the pleats in place. Then I hand sewed two strips of the braid to each point in the collar where I had sewn in the pleats. To finish the bodice I added strips of cotton ribbon to help fasten it in place as I wasn’t too sure the Velcro would hold up if I decided to do a performance for the masquerade.
Next I worked on the accessories for the costume, the bracelets, the three belts and the antler hat of doom. I couldn’t find a bracelet similar to Maggie’s anywhere local or online but I did chance across an Indian style ankle bracelet in a market that I could use to create the bracelets. This was a sliver colour bracelet with tiny bundles of three ‘bells’ hanging from the main piece. After buying a set of cheap gold coloured bangles from a fashion outlet I decided to colour the thicker of the pair of bangles with gold spray paint as this gave a better less ‘shinny colour and finish to the bangles. It also allowed me to add the tiny ‘bells’ onto a pair of slightly thinner bangles with florist wire and then gold spray paint the lot and finally given a wash of black acrylic paint. That way both set of bangles would look similar and posses a more antiqued appearance.
The first belt has a collection of keys hanging from it. I was able to gather up a selection of mortise keys from my place of work. These were keys cut that didn’t work or practice blanks that I had a go cutting myself which was fun. At first I tried rusting the key in a mixture of water and salt, this slowly worked well but after placing the rusty keys next the costume I wasn’t happy and so decided to try another approach. Looking back at the reference pictures (the few scenes that she appears in book one of the Bizenghast manga) I notice that the keys on her belt were drawn in black so that made me think of painting them black to give a wrought iron affect. I coloured the keys with a matt black spray paint and once the paint had dried I threaded them to a platted belt made from green garden twine. I also made two additional thinner belts from the same green garden twine from which the two other accessories will hang.
Next I made the ‘cats paw’; first I cut out six tear drop shaped pieces from cardboard to make a base. Then I duct taped a small jewellery piece (that I had picked up at the craft section of a local store) to the top of one of the tear drop shaped pieces of cardboard this would allow me to thread green garden twine through the hole and make a loop to hang the ‘Cat’s Paw’ on. I then added several pieces of cardboard either side of the first piece to strength it, I wrapped all the pieces together with duct tape to secured everything together. Next I threaded two lengths of garden twine through the small loop in the jewellery piece this would become the loop so I could hang it from the belt. I covered the duct taped cardboard piece in wadding to give it a more 3D shape and sewed it in place. Finally I took a very long length of green garden twine and carefully wrapped it about the shape, slowly covering up all the wadding that was showing, I then tied off the two lengths of garden twine at the top of the tear drop shape and finally wound the loose lengths of twine through the loop until it formed the loop and I could tie it off to finish the ‘Cat’s Paw’.
After searching my local fashion outlets in vain for a pendant similar to the one Maggie has hanging from a belt I decided the best thing to do was to make it from scratch. The first thing I needed was something to give the pendant strength as I would be making the main body of it from craft foam. I had a white round plastic pin holder (the sort of thing you buy sewing pins in) which I cut out the size I needed for the pendant. Then I duct taped a jewellery piece to the top of the plastic base and threaded two lengths of green garden twine through the loop so I could match it to the one of the ‘Cats Paw’. I then added a disk of cardboard to both sides of the plastic piece to smooth it out, wrapping all the pieces with duct tape. Next I cut out two circles slightly bigger than the cardboard piece out of craft foam. I stuck the foam pieces either side of the base piece using a hot glue gun making sure to carefully stick the over lapping edges together giving it a 3D shape also like that of a fob watch. Next I carefully cut out the flower detail on the pendant, one small disk and seven small petal shapes. I glued these to the front of the pendant, then tied and wound the garden twine into a loop and then placed duct tape loosely over the loop to protect it while painting the foam. I painted the pendant with base coat of black acrylic as I wanted to give the piece an antique feel to it. Finally I added several lightly dry brushed layers of gold acrylic until I had achieved the look of the gold I wanted.


The next thing I needed to do was make a ‘bum pillow’ to give the back of the gown a bustled effect. The gown isn’t as highly bustled as a Victorian dress but I wanted to give the costume a bustled feel so I decided to try out a soft pad rather than a metal framework. I started to create the ‘bum pillow’ by trying out several different shapes with a newspaper pattern. After a couple of attempts with scraps of fabric that were left over from making the skirt I came up with a shape I wanted. I stuffed the pillow with wading which I had torn into little pieces. I decided to use wading as it is stiffer than the stuffing used in making a soft toy and buying it by the metre is cheaper than a bag of stuffing. Once the pillow was stuffed enough for the shape and firmness I wanted the next thing was for me to sew up the opening. I cut a strip of fabric from the same scraps I made the ‘bum pillow’ and sewed it into a thin, neat lace which I then attached to the opening seam of the pillow so that I could tie the whole thing about my waist. I may once I have added the detail to the skirt and tried the ‘bum pillow’ on under the completed skirt add another lace if I feel it needs to be held in place better. Or if I do make the bloomers I may be able to add ties to the back of the bloomers and the underside of the ‘bum pillow’ so I can secure the item in place better. I know in Victorian and other historical gowns the ‘bum pillow’ quite often rested upon the underskirt which was very often shaped with metalwork but I do not want this for my costume as this is too formal and structured. Now that I had my ‘bum pillow’ I could finally pinned the hem of the skirt while wearing the bustle pad (I briefly pinned while wearing the skirt and then pinned it more accurately with the skirt and ‘bum pillow’ on my duct tape dummy) once I had pinned the hem to a length I was happy with then I cut off the excess fabric. I rolled the hem over twice and hand sewed it to neat the raw edges ready to add the detailing to the skirt.
Now I am ready to start the fun part of this costume creation the detailing, first the bodice. As I wanted to create an earthy, woodland feel to the costume I had purchased several metres of various types of fabric, all in natural shades, brown and greens. I picked a lovely forest green in raw silk for the detailing around the neckline mainly because I loved the colour so much but also I wanted a fabric with an interesting texture for this focal point. I know from working with it on my Zhang Fei cosplay that raw silk frays badly, it is also quite expensive so I decided I was going to use this sparingly on the costume. For the detailing I wanted to create shade and texture but also due to the nature that I was going to treat the fabric as in cut it into small pieces (for the bodice) and slightly larger (for the skirts) I needed fabric that wouldn’t fray too badly but also draped well and was cost effective as I needed quite a lot of each shade. Bearing all these factors in mind I searched fabric shops (Fabricland on a visit to Bristol) and online for cotton jersey (t-shirt fabric), stretch lace and stretch net. I also found while searching on e bay some brown lace on offer very cheap so although it wasn’t stretch lace I thought it was too much of a bargain to let go and it would add another texture to the detailing as well as the gorgeous dress net in khaki and brown I got from a local fabric shop. Once I had gathered up all the fabric, I had about 22 metres in all; I split each piece of fabric into two piles so that I was ensured of having the same fabric for both the bodice and the skirt of the gown. Next I cut a section (about quarter of a metre) of each shade of fabric then I roughly cut these sections into smaller randomly shaped pieces. Once I had a small pile of each type of fabric I started the process of hand sewing each piece to the bodice. I placed the bodice on the duct tape dummy and then I began sewing the pieces on at the top right shoulder of the neckline and slowly worked around the top edge of the bodice until I had reached the opening at the back. Then with the Velcro stuck together I carefully added pieces of fabric over the fastening and continued to sew more fabric around the neckline until I reached the pointed that I had started. I carried on with this process adding a second row of pieces lifting up the first row so I could sew the top of the second row under the first. I continued doing this until I had sewn pieces that had covered to the edge of the short sleeves, then I decided to start adding the pieces to the front and back panels of the bodice working my way down the length of the bodice. I still have a lot more fabric to cut up and sew onto the bodice but I am pretty pleased with how the costume is looking so far

The next part of the process was pretty much trial and error as I need to change the shape of the bodice neck from the one in the pattern to one more like my reference picture, which is a scoop rather than a square neckline. I pinned the bodice to the duct tape dummy and then cut several patterns from newspaper starting with panels at the front and back to raise the height of the neckline and then pieces to alter the neckline and better shape the tops of the sleeves. Once I was happy with the paper patterns I then cut them out in fabric, pinned them to the bodice and tacked them. Then I adjusted the fit of the garment by wearing it to check sizing and neckline and finally hand sewed the pieces to the bodice. As I was raising the height of the back of the bodice to match the neckline at the front I had to add more Velcro to ensure that the back fastened all the way up to the neckline. Once all the extra pieces were sown to the bodice I neatened up the hems on the inside by hand sewing small rolled hems to tidy up the raw edges and strengthen the seams. The last thing I did was to hem the top and bottom of the bodice ready for the next stage which will be adding the first row of detailing and the fabric to the neckline.
As I am still searching for fabric to add the detailing to the dress I decided to do more work on the skirt part of the gown. I can’t sew the hem until I have made the ‘bum roll’ for wearing underneath the skirt as this will alter the finished length of the skirt but I could finish the top part of the skirt. The pattern suggested a zip to fasten the skirt but I decided against doing this because of losing weight. I opted to just make a simple, thick waist band so I would be sure that the skirt would be fitted quite high under the bodice so there would not be a gap between the two sections of the gown. Depending on how the bodice and skirt react after I have added the detailing I might add some Velcro to secure the two garments in place. I also did not add a zip to fasten the skirt as I thought it would be easier to alter the sizing of the top of the skirt with Velcro or even a safety pin if I needed to once the detailing was added.
As the waist band would not have a fastening I had to measure it to a length so that I would be able to pull the skirt over my head. I cut a four inch strip of brown cotton fabric from what I had left from making the gown; I pressed it with an iron and then doubled it over and pressed it again. Then I pinned the edge that would be on the inside of the skirt onto the skirt. I tacked it and tried the skirt on to make sure that I could get it on over my head and then I hand sewed the edge. Next I pinned the edge that would be on the outside of the skirt, I neatened the edge by slowly unpinning it and folded over the raw edge then tacking it in place. Once I was happy with the fit I hand sewed the outside edge and finished the waist band by tidying up the inside raw edge with a small rolled hem.

In the initial stages of making the bodice part of the gown I followed the pattern. First I tacked the front centre panel to the two front side pieces. I machine stitched the panels together and then hand sewed tiny roll hems to neaten the raw edges and strengthen the seams. I repeated the process by joining the two sets of back panels together and then finally I joined the two back panels to the front piece.
The pattern suggested using a zipper as fasten but I decided to go for Velcro as due to the nature of the detailing that I would later add to the bodice and skirt I didn’t want to risk it catching in the zipper. First I tacked a little hem on the side of the right side of the bodice so that I could tuck it under the stripe of Velcro to neaten the edge. Then I hand sewed a strip of black hook side Velcro to what would become the inner edge fastening of the bodice. Next I cut a strip of roughly two inches from scrap fabric left from cutting out the pattern pieces. After ironing it and cutting it to size I joined it to the raw edge of the left side of the bodice, this was to neaten the edge and allow me to flip the strip under the bodice so I could sew the second, fluffy side of the Velcro onto the strip. I did this so that I could later add the details to the back of the bodice right up to the edge of the fabric without having the trouble of trying to sew through a layer of Velcro.
I originally intended to use the shoulder strap style of bodice but as I started to make the bodice the idea of having little sleeves seemed more appealing. As I had plenty of fabric left over from cutting the initial pattern pieces (enough to make the bum roll I hope) I was able to simply cut out the sleeves and continue following the section of the pattern that dealt with adding sleeves. I made up the small sleeves following the pattern and after a bit of confusion (pattern instructions and pictures often confuse me lol) over how to attach them I machine stitched the sleeves to the bodice.
Now that the bodice was roughly complete I tried it on wearing the item of underwear that I was intending to wear under the gown and check for fit. I knew that I would have to fit the bodice despite following the pattern as due to losing weight I have already gone down a dress size but I didn’t want to start making the gown a few sizes smaller in case it took me longer to lose weight. Anyway I decide that the length of the bodice was fine so that could be neatened up with a small hand sewn rolled hem. The ‘neckline’ of the bodice was slightly baggy due to that when following the pattern I hadn’t alter the top section of the bodice to fit me exactly. I had done this because I knew that I was going to add another piece of fabric to alter the style of the ‘neckline’ to be more like the one Maggie has in the reference picture. I put the bodice on wearing it inside out so that I could fit it better by pinning darts upon the sections of the front and (I put the bodice on a duct tape dummy) back that needed taking in. I neatly hand sewed the darts at the front of the bodice but left the pins in the back under I had finished working upon the front of the bodice.

As this costume is taken from an illustration in a manga, unfortunately there are no colour references. So I decided to treat this costume almost as if it was an original design. I have always pictured Maggie Murdoch as being dressed in shades of brown and green as if she is a part of the forest that she dwells in. My main inspiration for the shading and textures of this costume will be the forest, trees, underground and such like.
After several evening searching for a suitable pattern, I finally decided to use the Butterick 4131 wedding dress pattern as a base of the gown. The pattern isn’t exact, I couldn’t find one with the same neckline but it was the closest to the gown I wanted to recreate so I shall be making a few alterations to the pattern as I go along where needed. I also picked this style of pattern that has a two piece gown as it would be easier to fit to my body type especially as I am currently on a diet for my wedding.
The first thing I did was to ironed several metres of the light chocolate brown cotton fabric that I had been kindly given to me by a friend. Next I cut out the pieces of the paper pattern that I needed for the style I was going to make, then I ironed the pieces. One by one I pinned each piece of the pattern onto the fabric, roughly cut around the pattern which would allowed me to work with smaller, easier to handled on the limited flat surface on my desk. This way it was much easier to cut out the final pattern piece by piece then pinning everything to a long length of fabric as I knew I had more than enough fabric to get all the pieces cut out. As the fabric I was using was plain and it was going to be for the base of the gown it was easier for me to cut all the pieces out in smaller lengths of the fabric as I didn’t have to worry about reversing the pattern pieces to on the wrong side of the fabric to make everything fit.
Once all the pieces were cut out and labelled, I gave each piece a good press with the iron and then carefully put aside the pieces of the top while I worked upon the skirt part of the gown. I decided to make the skirt first as I would need to make a few alterations to the pattern. Also as I wanted to add a bustle of sorts under the skirt so I thought it would be best to make the skirt first so I could lengthen the top to accommodate the bustle if needed. For the first part of the skirt I followed the pattern instructions. I started with the front panels of the skirt; I tacked the side sections to the front centre panel. Next I machine stitched along the seams following the tacking, as I do not have an over locker I decided to strengthen and neaten the seams by turning over the raw edges and hand sewing them. I wasn’t too concerned about the stitching of the seams being visible on the right side of the fabric as this skirt was just a base of the gown and it would be covered by the details I would be adding later. I repeated the whole process with the back pieces of the skirt and then I joined the front set of panels to the back set of panels making a whole skirt.
I am going to leave the waist band and hem until I have made the ‘bum roll’ bustle because I want to fit the skirt wearing the bustle before I decide on the final length of the skirt.

I love the Bizenghast manga, there are so many strange and interesting characters all with beautiful costumes that I knew it wouldn't be long before I cosplayed someone from it.
When a friend of my mum kindly donated me several metres of cheap brown cotton fabric I was instantly inspired to make the unusual and stunning dress wore by the witch, Maggie Murdoch as I had always pictured her in the browns and greens of the forest where she lives.

As this is my first Steampunk character/costume it will be pretty simple but in saying that I am really enjoying the creation progress and other ideas are sparking off it.
After deciding upon a character and writing a bio (which I will post here at some point) I then searched e-bay for items for the costume. The charity shops in my area are rubbish so I didn’t hold out much hope finding anything I wanted but I might go looking once in a while for possible items to add to costumes. Anyway I found some great brown leather boots and a brown satin corset. Also a dark blue military style jacket, goggles and a white shirt which I can alter to create the look I am after for the character. So far I have just altered the shirt by removing the ugly black plastic buttons, cutting off the loops that fastened the shirt and sewn up the front two panels where the buttons and loops where positioned.

Gloves
For the gloves I used some black pleather that I had left over from my Lu Bu costume. This is about the fourth pair of gloves I have made for my various costumes and I would like to recommend the website sew-ing.com for a really simple and nifty glove pattern which is to be found at http://sew-ing.com/make/gloves.html
I am lucky as the pattern when printed off onto A4 fits my hands perfectly but I am sure that anyone could easily shrink or enlarge the basic pattern to suit themselves. The actual pattern is clearly marked and although the instructions at first glance might look a little daunting once you start to follow them it is a pretty simple process. I adapted the basic pattern to make fingerless gloves and it would be easy enough to adapt it to make long evening style gloves too. I won’t go into details as regards to using the pattern as that is all explained on the print out but I have taken a few photographs of my gloves as I made them which might help illuminate the progress for anyone interested in how I made them when I add them to my website. All I have to do now to finish the gloves is add the gold detail on the back of the hand once I have retrieved my glue gun.
Trousers
For the trousers I used an old pair of pyjamas as a pattern and white cotton fabric that I had left over from a previous costume. I ironed the fabric, pinned the pyjamas to it and finally cut out the pieces. I tacked all the pieces together and then machine stitched it to ensure strong seams. I always try to machine stitch any seams that I know might have stress upon them as these are usually the seams that would be the most embarrassing or annoying if them became unstitched. Also as I am expecting there will be quite a bit of hand sewing later in the costume I wanted to speed up the progress by using a sewing machine where ever possible. Once I had sewn the trousers together I added a length of elastic at the top of the waist and then dyed the trousers black with a pack of Dylon that I had left over from the Lu Bu costume.
Once the trousers were dyed, dried and iron I started to add the red details. At the time the fabric shop was closed due to snow and as I am on a more limited budget due to moving out I decided to make the tape myself. I used scraps of the same white cotton fabric which I made the trousers from to make the edging. I cut two strips twice the final desired width and then ironed it. Next I folded one of the raw length edges into the middle of the strip, ironed it flat and then repeated the process with the other raw length edge. I then turned the strip over and pressed the whole thing flat. I made two strips of about half an inch to detail the bottom of the trousers and four strips if about an inch to detail the front of each leg of the trousers.
I put the trousers on and then using a length of cord to loosely tie the legs of the trousers so I could pin the point where the top of the triangle shaped split would be when worn. Taking the trousers off I cut a triangle from newspaper and placed it (top point at the pin) on each leg and drew around it. I cut out each triangle and then sewed by hand a small hem all the way around the raw edge of the bottom hem of each trouser leg to neat it. Then I hand sewed the strips around the bottom hem of the trouser legs, I started at the top point of the triangle and then worked my way around the hem sewing one side at a time until the two strips met at the back. Finally I hand stitched two stripes to the front of each trouser leg and then coloured all the strips with red Dylon fabric paint.
I have cut two half inch strips of white cotton which I will colour with red fabric paint and use as ties for each of the trouser legs. I am probably going to use lengths of elastic whether sew into the leg or wrapped around the leg to bunch up the fabric and the tie the strips around the leg.

Due to moving house and being without the internet for about a month and a half it has taken me some time to upload any pictures of this costume.
I had a few issues with the costume before attending the MCM Expo so I had to make a quick change of plan with this cosplay. The black combats I bought weren't right and neither was the wig and with little time and money left before the event I decided to change from the planned costume.
But despite all the problems I really enjoyed cosplaying as Abby and hope to update and improve the costume for future events ^^

Due to moving just before Expo I had to drop my planned costume as I didn't feel I would have the time to complete it in time. I have been wanting to do an Abby from NCIS for a while (I was originally going to cosplay Abby for Oct Expo) and so I decided this would be the perfect costume to put together before the move.
I have decided to do the black combat version of Abby as I thought this would be the most easy to put together within a small budget and time, plus I do like Abyy in combats. I am not sure what I will team with the trousers yet, I might rewatch a few episodes and see if there is a t-shirt or top that I can copy or get something similar.

After searching the internet for some ref pictures of Momiji from the DS game Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword I have finally started the costume.
The first thing I did was find a nice hair piece on E-Bay as my own hair isn't long enough. I will get my hair styled and dyed to go with the hair piece.
Next I decided to make the trousers as I had already had a pattern and making something simple would be a good start to getting things underway.
I found a great pattern for making Kakashi's ninja mask on Cosplay.com so after ajusting the pattern to fit my own face I made the mask from black cotton jersey fabric.

Since my last entry things have been progressing slower than I would have liked but at least I have managed some progress. Once all the detailing and paper Mache were completely dry I set about spraying the undercoat with black paint. While I waited for this to dry I made a start on the plumes. After much research regarding feathers and thinking about cost and practicalities I decided to create the red plumes from fun fur. I know that this might seem like a crazy but I am hoping that my plan will work as feathers are just so expensive and will be awkward to work with. So I have purchased half a metre of long red fun fur which I cut into four strips of about four inches wide. I machine sewed the strips together (two strips together) across the width to form two very long strips. Next I brought the two edges of the strips (length ways) together (right side facing outwards) and sewed all the way down the length of the strips. Once I had sewn the fur strips into a tube I started the long task of over sewing the edge to create the ‘spine’ of the plume with embroidery thread. After I had sewn the ‘spine’ I threaded a length of 2mm garden wire into the fur tube and then sewed it into place along the edge of the plume. I used duct tape to fix three thinner strips of garden wire at the end of the main length of wire to help secure the plume to the headdress. To finish off the plume I wrapped duct tape to the base of the wire at the bottom of the fur and allowed the thinner strips to stick out of the plume.
Next I sectioned off what would become the black stripes that appear on the bottom part of the plume with duct tape and then used black fabric paint to colour in the gaps between each section of duct tape. Once the fabric paint was dry I pulled off the duct tape and brushed out the black stripes to soften them slightly.

After applying several layers of paper Mache (I like to use small, torn sections of newspaper with a mixture of PVA glue and water) which I allowed to dry completely in the airing cupboard I was ready to start adding the gold detailing. I decided to build up the details by layering up cardboard which I will then cover in a layer of paper Mache (with tissue paper) to seal the design before painting. I did that method for the designs on my shamisen and it seemed to work pretty well. The first thing I did was cut out a diamond shape for the detailing at the front of the headdress. Once I had made the base diamond I drew out the inner pattern so that I could get the proportions right and when I was happy with that I used greaseproof paper to trace the pattern. Next I traced the pattern several times onto another piece of cardboard and then cut them out. I stuck each piece of the pattern that I wanted to stand out onto the base diamond until I had achieved a slightly raised effected which I would later cover with paper Mache.
Next I cut out several thin strips of cardboard that I stuck using a hot glue gun to the front of each antenna. This was to give each one a smooth even base on to which I would later add the ridged detailing. I also made eight cardboard templates of the antenna so that I could create the gold lines that decorate the side of each one. I measured about half an inch around each template on the inner edge drawing a line all the way around so that when I cut the inner section away I was left with a thin strip in the shape of the antenna that I could stick to the side edge. Two strips for each side of the antenna seemed to be enough to give a nicely raised edge which I hope will be easy enough to colour gold and weather with dry brushing with black paint.


After about a week mucking about with wire mesh I have finally made the base for the headdress…I seem to have an antenna theme going on with my costumes at the moment what with Pang Tong and now Lu Bu. The base of the headdress is made from wire mesh, garden wire and cardboard. I started by making a crown piece, secured by a thin craft wire and was made slightly larger than my head so I could line it later as I don’t fancy going all day without some kind of padding in the thing. Next I cut an oval shape from card and once happy with the size I used this as a template for the wire mesh. I attached the oval to the front of the crown by threading the craft wire through the holes. I repeated the progress with the two gold wing details at the side of the headdress, keeping a cardboard template of each detail so I would be able to define the gold patterns after the base had been applied with several layers of paper Mache. Once the wire mesh was in place I had added a section to the back of the headdress between the top of the oval and three inches down which I hope will be a good enough support for when I add the feather plumes. Then I used more cardboard templates to define the shape if the headdress at the bottom, sides and around the oval.
The antenna I made by drawing out a cardboard template which I used too cut the shape from wire mesh. This I added to the front of the headdress with garden wire and small sections of wire mesh. I ran some lengths of garden wire up through the mesh to give more support before adding templates of cardboard with more cardboard sandwiched between them and covered in masking tape. Finally I covered the whole base of the headdress in masking tape ready to apply the paper Mache.

Oh no…it’s Lu Bu.
I am so nervous but extremely excited about starting this monster of a project. I know starting a week after I returned form Oct Expo may seem a little too keen but considering the work involve I thought it was wise to allow myself plenty of time for experimentation, failures and actually completing the costume. And if making one of the most awesome armoured costumes in the Dynasty Warriors 6 game wasn’t enough of a challenge I had also decided that I would like to try out some new craft techniques on this project.
After asking SANDS for advice regarding the creation of Lu Bu’s headdress (if you need advice on making headdress then ask SANDS as she is the queen on that subject) I decided to make mine from a sheet of metal mesh that I had found in the shed (AND RECOMMENDED BY RYAOKI)as my first attempt with chicken wire wasn’t very successful. I have never worked with chicken wire before so I guess in time I would become more skilled with manipulating it and once covered with the details it would have improved but everything looked far too untidy and flimsy for me. The wire mesh was harder still to handle and manipulate but I feel happier with the result so far. I have made the necessary base for the headdress and hope to start the details that need to be added pretty soon.
I have also decided to try my hand at embroidery as to be honest I wanted to do more with this as it is my dream costume than simply hand paint all the details. I thought it would be an interesting if slow project and add a little more texture to the costume. I made a cardboard template of the details I wanted to embroider from a reference picture, traced it onto a black cotton panel and I am currently and very slowly embroidering the design on the front of the tasselled skirt piece. Metallic thread is evil…I guess I must have picked one of the hardest threads to work with especially as I am a novice when it comes to embroidery but I am not going to let it beat me and find it quite relaxing. Fifteen centimetres over a few hours for three evenings is painfully slow but not too bad considering it is my first time at embroidery so with luck I will get it finished by the New Year!


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