Amy-Lou avatar

Amy-Lou
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I've always loved making costumes, but only found cosplay when I was invited to MinamiCon 8 many years ago where I met lots of great new friends and caught the costume bug.

I'll choose costumes because I like the design, or the character's personality, or my friends need an extra group member. Sometimes the character is like me, sometimes they're nothing like me, it can be fun to act differently sometimes!

My main goal with costumes is budgeting. Over the years I've ammassed a horde of fabric yet still I was buying more for new plans, so I've vowed to buy no more and pick costumes using mostly this stash and recycling of old costumes. It's added some interesting challenges and I'm learning a lot about being more efficient and less wasteful in my craft work.

I love looking back at my earlier cosplays and seeing where I've impoved along the way, you don't notice it so much as you go. Wonder what I'll be able to do in the future :D

Last online 20 hours ago

London

Joined: 21st Jun 2007

Completed costumes: 67

Photos uploaded: 236

Progress journals: 489

Events attended: 46

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Started on the watch by printing off a picture to get an idea of proportions and making a pattern based on that.

Plan is to layer up EVA foam and sand it down to shape. By using layers I can sandwich the 3 tubes into the design rather than trying to drill through a finished piece.

Made a first pass with the stencil using Dylon fabric paint in purple. Once that was dry I did a second coat to even out the colour using a small brush.
This paint can be heat set with an iron, then it's washable.

Used baking paper to sketch out a design that would fit to the sleeves. Once I was happy with the proportions I flipped it over and traced on the other side to transfer the design onto stiff card for the stencil.

The wig is a Coscraft Yoji in Pale Ash Blonde. Heat styled into a zig-zag side parting and trimmed up in front then tied in a ponytail.

The wig bangs are styled up into retro points with Got2B spray and a hairdryer and the fin wire is poked through the wig cap and curled in a circle to form a base against my head.
The fin is bigger than planned because I didn't account for the hair added on top. Templates need to be a bit undersized if trying this again.

I've never done any structural wig work before. A hair fin....where to start?
I dug through the stash and found 2mm craft foam and felt sheets in a similar purple to the wig. The felt was thinner so I went with felt sandwiched over a wire as the base structure.

Next the felt shape was covered in wig hair. I really struggled with this, the hair just wasn't sticking to the felt, tangling up and forming lots of white glue spots. At this point I went back to the internet and found this tutorial by Cowbutt Crunchies - https://www.patreon.com/posts/wig-styling-with-12510151
The problem was I wasn't using enough glue so it was drying too quickly to shape; slapping on lots of glue made it much easier. Though I'll have to live with the frizzy bits still in there from the first attempt, I feel a lot less scared of wig work!

For the two tone wig I ordered a Deep Purple Kitt wig and Purple wefts from Coscraft. Replaced the bottom two rows at the back with Purple wefts and added extra Purple wefts up the sides and along the underside of the front so the whole underneath of the wig is the brighter colour.

The main belt is made of buckram wrapped in the grey suiting from earlier. The brown holster belt is cut down from an old bag strap that happened to be the right width for some dungaree clips which hook over the belt studs.
The belt studs are jean button rivets. Originally they were going to be attached onto the front panel, but they stuck out too far and let the dungaree clips jiggle around. To shorten them they now pass through holes in the front panel and one is attached to the main belt, the other is attached to a scrap of leatherette glued over the back of the front panel with a fastener on the other side so the belt can easily undo.

Running out of time before KupoCon at this point so for the patches I printed the ironworks graphic onto transfer paper and ironed it onto the back of some leatherette.
I thought it would look quite flat, but the transfer merged into the felt texture on the back of the leatherette and makes it look more like embroidery!

Kuma pitched in to make the pleather bags for both of us.
I added the belts and fastenings with a mixture of eyelets, buttons and studs.

I have a stash of 2mm craft foam so the buckles and fixtures are made of layering it up to the right thickness and casing in Worbla scraps.
Didn't realise the worbla overlay would increase the size of the details so much, so that's something to remember in future.

I found a great snakeskin leatherette for all the black belts.
To make sure everything stays in place, I decided to sew the belt and harness to the jacket and keep the whole thing one piece. This also keeps both ends of the side laces secured.

Now I'm make this all over again for Kuma.

I couldn't find crocodile texture leatherette, but I was lucky enough to find this fashion jersey that's a similar effect.

The zipper holds the jacket closed evenly so I could make these buckles decorative. Each one is a single strap sewn down on one side and fastened on the other. Both ends are hidden under a fold of leatherette and the buckle is stitched in the centre.

The sides of the jacket have large gunmetal eyelets and white lacing.
Because the eyelets are so far from the hem I spent way too long trying to set these first with a hammer and then in a vice, but it was so fiddly it mostly mangled the eyelets and washers. In the end I unpicked the side seams and set them with a hand tool before sewing it back up.
I used cotton bias tape for the lacing as it would lay flat under the other layers and I had plenty of it.

Now with collar, zipper and bias tape.
The only complication here was the bias trim around the zip. I ended up sewing the bias tape to the zipper, then the zip into the jacket before sewing the bias tape down all the way around the jacket.

There wasn't going to be enough black stripe fabric, but I was able to use less because the back will be hidden by a harness. This allowed me to make the back top half of the jacket from white suiting and reduce the number of layers.

The sleeves were widened at the top to give a puff sleeve shape. Once the emblems are on I'll be able to tell if it still needs some support inside.

The base pattern for the jacket is Simplicity 1361, which didn't need much altering for Ironworks.
It was difficult to get the colour, texture and weight I was after, so for the black striped jacket I ended up using a thin black striped fabric layered over black suiting.

Added some oversized rivets to the straps. The straps are sewn to the skirt down the inside edge and topstitched up the outside edge to match.

It was really hard to shape the single layer of Worbla for the necklace. The result looked too thin, bumpy and especially uneven around the gem where it had imprinted the edge of the backing scrap, so I decided to give it another go. I also re-backed the gem in foil at this point as I'd put it into the first necklace too soon after painting it so there were silver patches showing through where it had been pressed on.

This time the main layer is standard Worbla covered in smooth Worbla. With the backing running all the way round the edges round off nicely and there's no ridge to show through behind the gem. The hole for the gem is smaller to account for stretching and that made a big difference to the curve around the gem.

It looked like I was going to be a costume down for Minami, so in the last week I threw together a Narumi costume (I love Wotakoi).
The floaty skirt I already had, the turtle neck is for my Hawkeye costume and the trainers were for Mishima.
I already had the pink wig. It was curly but also way too long so I cut off most of the curls, added a fringe and blow dried it straighter.

For the jacket I picked one up in Primark for £10. Because she never buttons it up I got one two sizes too small so it would always hang open and cut off the cuffs so I could roll up the tapered sleeves.

The necklace is leather thonging with silver beads from my bits box.

For the gems I had a large clear cabochon left over from Bioshock and a half pearl left over from Philia which were the perfect sizes. Painted them both up with red nail polish and foil backed the cabochon.

Worked out a pattern for the necklace and made it from smooth Worbla, then held the gem in with a scrap of standard Worbla on the back.
The headpiece was also smooth and standard Worbla sandwiched together around the gem with a hole in the top so I can hang it from the wig. I also shaped it to my forehead when it was cool enough to touch, so it will sit flatter.

I already had long black gloves and some fake talons, so I trimmed the glove down and painted the talons gold before glueing them to the glove (thank goodness I can take it off to hold a drink).

The arm wrap is a stretchy jersey with silicone tape in the top and the arm band is silicone tape on elastic.

The wrist bands are a base layer of standard worbla with two panels of smoother worbla for the raised layers.
Firstly the two layers were heat bonded together flat, then I shaped them around a Pringles tube. At this point it was really clear the proportions that had looked good laid out flat looked way too chunky rolled up, so I cut down both ends to be a better ratio.
Next I heated them up again and waited until they were comfortable to touch but still movable to shape them more to my wrists. The structure mostly worked, but at the edges it tried to warp at the point where there is only one layer.

Primed with two layers of PVA glue and painted with gold acrylic before coating with gold paste. The middle band and inside were then painted with matt black acrylic.

Once it was cool the worbla was lifted off the foil and cut to shape with a craft knife to give the tapered middle.
The surface was painted with iridescent nail polish and hoops were added to the backs with small loops of worbla.

The earrings constantly change size and chunkiness from frame to frame, so I went with one on the chunky scale that would be less fragile.

Initially I planned to model them out of resin clay, but during sculpting I realised getting all the ends even was super hard just for one cross let alone three.
Change of plan; I could sculpt the 4 points separately and form pearly worbla over the top. I'd have more chance of getting the points right and all three crosses would be the same!

Once I had the 4 points I spaced them out to the size I wanted on double sided tape and stuck the tape to the desk so they'd stay in place while the worbla is being pressed around them. The whole lot was covered in foil to stop the worbla sticking and then I draped hot worbla over the top and poked it into place. I forgot the thickness of the worbla would take up some of the space between the points so they aren't as far apart as I'd planned, but I was able to use a hair grip to get into all the nooks and press it firmly down to shape.

And here's the hooded cape over the robe.
Kuma already had this LARP cape which is perfect, so I'm borrowing it for the cosplay.

This is the robe to go underneath the cape.
I would have made a sleeveless beige robe, but the cape I'm borrowing is sleeveless so this monstrosity was created instead!

Luckily the store that makes the cape also sold spare fabric for alterations, so I was able to get a match for the brown canvas. The body is a good foot too long so that it can be tied up with an overhang at the waist. The strip of bias tape is casing for a drawstring that ties at the side.

The rings are from a convenient belt of linked rings. They only came with two connectors so I added a third with a large jump ring and made the straps from red elastic.

The bead was varnished then strung together with wooden beads and a couple of metal spacers and fastened with the clasp from an old necklace.

Time for an upgrade!
It felt wrong making my character in anything I don't have in the game and we'll be cosplaying with our FC at FanFest so I decided to do the awful caster robe I spent half the game wearing variants of. To make it more interesting I'm going to make some accessories like the horn necklace and wrist wraps.

The pendant is made of white resin clay from Coscraft mixed with brown acrylic before sculpting. Once the clay had dried I sanded a couple of uneven areas before painting it in more brown acrylic and shading the details in black.

Managed to find a grey suiting that matched the bias binding.
Used this with interfacing to make the strap details and had to sew them a couple of times as the arrow shape liked to distort when it was going through the sewing machine.

Not as long as I'd like, these are the gloves from my old Eternal Pluto costume and I've added three tiers of black lace for the banding effect round the top.

The eternal design uses yellow stars at the choker, waist and boots. As it wouldn't work on the choker for this dress, I painted yellow stars with gold nail varnish to get a tone that fitted the look better and used them to replace the shank buttons down the front of the collar.

To fit in with the dress I wanted to try a wire tiara rather than anything chunky. The main shape is 0.8g copper wire and the black star was tied on with 0.2g all styled to a paper curve template. The loops are then fixed by chain to hair clips so it can be fixed under the wig.
The earrings are taken straight from my old Eternal Pluto cosplay.

To hide the yellow ribbon I added a black velvet ribbon round the middle and to mirror the star broach I fixed a star shaped button to the front which had been painted gold to stand out.

As the dress is full length I want to space out the features, so rather than making a burgundy bow at the collar I'm going to move it down and have a waspie.
I nearly started making one before realising Machi's obi was the right colour, a fairly similar shape and has a bow attachment on the back.
The bow was made with the cream lace cut off the bottom of the dress earlier, extended to three layers to hang longer than the Eternal design.

The neck strap was covered in black bias to look like the choker, I'm not going to put the star on as the buckle is already ornate.
To finish the sailor collar effect I added black lace trim round the outside so the white trim now mirrors the white stripe from the Eternal design.

To make more of a difference between the top and bottom ruffles (black and silver on the Eternal design) I removed the lace overlay from the top layer.
Leaving an inch of lace behind and adding a black lace trim on top helped separate it off from the rest of the dress and mirrors the black and silver waist ribbons from the Eternal design.

To give the effect of the black sailor collar I coloured the white lace at the neck to black with fabric paint.

I bought a dress on eBay for this amazing key print fabric. However, when it arrived it actually fitted so the Pluto ball dress project was started!
It has little cap sleeves and two tiers of ruffles on the bottom, so I'm going to style it on the Eternal Sailor Pluto design, with cream lace instead of silver as the contrasting colour.

Cut out the skirt and picked a length for it between the knee and top of the boots.
The split ends just below the crotch and is slightly angled so it will always hang with a space between.
Edged with grey bias binding all the way round.

I started with a Coscraft Ash wig, shortened up the back and layered up the fringe into three sections.
Everthing is set in place with heat and hairspray.

It looks right on the small wig head, but having worn it once the side curls sit close to my ears, so if I wear this again I'll style them further forward to frame the glasses.

To get the poofy look I’ve used wadding in the cuffs which also keeps them up straight.
The bottom has elastic running through the hem to keep the toes curved round. Two elastic strips go under the soles to stop them riding up.

For the first cover I sewed the main lines before the black notch in the front and it came out a bit wonky as it’s hard to lay flat on the sewing machine.
For the second cover I sewed the bottom line of the black notch first , then the main body and everything lined up easily!
Took the time to unpick the first cover and try again sewing the notch first, no problem.

There are several sections to the boots, so I made a pattern by covering the boot in masking tape and drawing on the designs.
Once it was cut off I could smooth it flat and cut the white, orange and black jersey.

Sleeves are on, hems are up!
The orange is a flimsy fabric so the white continues the full lengh of the sleeves with the orange laid on top.
For the patch on the collar I wrapped the fabric around a cardboard rectangle to keep the straight edges and sewed that to the jumper.

Bit the bullet and chose a length and shape for the bottom of the jumper. It was pretty fiddly and the top corners have a gap that will need hand sewing as the machine couldn’t get in there.

I think it’s too big across the chest, but that’s the only place where the green panels line up at the sides, so baggy it shall stay.

This is a bought shirt, but I didn’t like the shape of the sleeves, which were super poofy!
To fix this I unpicked the top half of each sleeve, cut off the excess, then by sewing a line near the edge of the sleeve on the machine’s longest stitch and pulling on one thread gathered it neatly back in the arm hole.

Dug out the suit and a gold blonde wig that gives a rounder sillouette and a bit of a bead head look.

Made a mask for Aggretsuko mode, I’m not up for mixing thick makeup and the extreme heat forcast this weekend.

Just barely had enough minky fabric to squeeze out some ears, lucky!
There’s cardboard inside each ear and the brown section is glued on top. The whole lot was sewn to a fabric covered headband.

This skirt is covered in a subtle revolver pattern, so I couldn't resist putting together a gun themed ball gown.
Mey-Rin was the winning suggestion so I could wear glasses and tie in with some aspects of her victorian style outfit.

The skirts are actually two skirts stacked together. The first is full length with a train and a plain black waistband, the second is an open front bustle skirt with fancy brass clasps at the front. Underneath is a crinoline and a ruffle edged petticoat to bulk it out.

I probably made this harder than it needed to be, but got there in the end with many pins and sewing really slowly.

In hind-sight a curved collar that flared out towards the top would have rounded out the oval neckline better than this straight collar. I’m not going to change it now xD

This is the roll neck, collar and upper body of the jumper. I’m joining the roll neck to the collar first in case getting it on is a problem and I need to try something else.

The roll neck is double width green scuba folded over so it will stand up better with thin orange jersey layered on top.

In what may turn out to be a mistake, I want to use the shorts denim for the grey jumper collar. This means the neck needs to be big enough to put on without stretching.
With some trial and error I got a two part collar worked out, then I reworked it to be one piece that joins in the back.

Shorts complete! Just missing a fastener at the top of the zip.

The denim shorts with some tweaks. They did still need some little darts in the back and the inside leg needed to taper a little.
Now the sides are pinned while I work out the pocket insert.
Because these are oversized costume trousers I won’t be using much, I’m keeping it simple and just making a two part pocket sewn to the leg panel rather than a free hanging or yoked style.

Unbent a wire coathanger for the tail support and wrapped it in wadding until it looked the right size. This way the stuffing won’t separate or let the wire end poke through when it’s being reposed.
The wadding is cut down in a spiral from the top so it’s a little fuller at the bottom.

Mocked up the shorts using a trouser pattern and widening the leg seams to be completely straight. Also left the waist darts out so they will sit lower like board shorts.
Now I’ve got an idea of how long they need to be and how far down the pockets need to go.

I’m basing the skirt pattern on the top of the trouser pattern up to the front darts, but leaving out the side seams and keeping the back darts so it will lay flat until the hips.

Made a copy of the altered pattern on paper and tested it out on some scrap fabric to work out the angle for the extended front and back edges.

All finished, with some elastic underneath so the boots can be swapped out for different covers.

Decided to get some short plain boots with a chunky sole so I can reuse them for other costumes.
Making some pleather covers to extend them to calf length.

Finally going back to this costume!
I dug out what I'd done of the trousers so far and they could still fit me, so I've finished them off (I am so excited this pattern has pockets). Leaving the waistband for now as I want to sew the overskirt into the trousers.

Picked up denim for the shorts and scuba for the top. Finding the orange was really hard, I’ve had to take something a bit brighter than I wanted in a thinner jersey.

The ears need to be removable for transport, but comfortable to wear and secure on my head.
I ordered some countersunk nylon screws, these are super light, and used a curved panel of worbla to secure them inside the wig. It's similar to how a headband would work, but doesn't need to be as long because the wig will hold it down. The screw ends then poke out the top of the wig where the ears slot on top and the nut fastens inside the ear. A little fiddly, but it worked just fine and they stayed firmly in place :D
With the ears being made out of worbla it was so light I kept forgetting I had them on.

Running out of time for Minami!
I got a Kit in milkshake pink from Coscraft, styled it into a centre parting, trimmed a wispy fringe in and rolled up the front sections into curls which are sewn up with pink thread.
I’m not convinced the curls will stay neat for long, and I’m now thinking I should have put the bunny ear base and wig clips in first >.<

All glued together! Used contact adhesive so I wouldn’t have to hold the edges together around the wire till it dried (clips would leave dents in this craft foam).

Tanemura draws thin spikey wings, so I’ve gone with layered craft foam on a wire frame.
The middle layer sits under the wire and the two shorter layers sandwich it in place.
I’m making Izumi’s wings as well, so there are two pairs in the picture.

Glued a coating of white minky fabric over the ears.
Also added a worbla base with a hole in, this is big enough to fit a screw for attaching the ears.

Worked out a pattern for the styalized ears. They have blunt ends and wrap over at the front.
Copied this onto worbla and moulded them over a tube.

Simple choker made from gathered lace trim with a pink ribbon stitched down the middle and pop fasteners on the ends.
Making it narrower than her usual ruffles to look right on my neck.

The suspenders are lengths of elastic with clips sewn on the ends. Originally these were made for an older costume, so they were a bit short for how Mishima wears them.
I’ve lengthened them as much as possible by letting out the ends and using a different style of clip that will lay flat.

Whipped up her bracelet from silver chain and small red drop beads. It’s just big enough to slip on and off.

Had a great time at KupoCon! Photo taken at KupoCon 2018 with Kuma and CrystalNeko.
Wore a casual wardrobe Miquo'te starter set as I'm also making costumes for MinamiCon. Learnt that the ears sit differently on my head to when it's on the wig head so they'll need some adjustments.

It was trial and error getting the right place to put the ears.
At this point I realised in the tutorial the bottom of the worbla gets cut off at an angle so they sit closer to the head, but it’s not made clear.

Wig is an Ash from Coscraft in Dark Green. Straightened and layered in the front with a razor comb.

Once in place the hair parting around the ears leaves it very thin just below. To make it easier to part and get more cover I threaded the first weft above the ears down inside the wig and back out just below the ears again.

The felt was coloured with pink and green eyeshadows brushed into the fibres.
The fur is a super plush dark green. I bought a 5mm fur for the tail and trimmed it down for the ears, first with scissors and then an electric trimmer. The fur wouldn’t go between the guard on the trimmer, so I had to free-hand it. Nerve wracking, but I’m happy with how it turned out.

I looked at a few ear tutorials and went with Kamui’s method as these are longer than the dog/cat ears I’ve made before and need a little more strength.
Getting the pattern proportions right took quite a while, but then copying it to worbla and adding the felt inside was really quick.

Going to a few FF fan events this year, so I’m making a cosplay of my Miquo’te character in the game.
Starting with a closet cosplay of the starter set for Kupocon, but doing the ears and wig properly so I can upgrade it for a full costume later.

The face was annoying me so I put a photo side by side with the refs and figured out that the proportions were off because I stuck to the pattern too closely.
Altered the shape of the muzzle and made some much bigger eyes.
This time I added the second blue section by using eye shadow brushed into the felt. Avoids having too many layers stacked up and a much closer blue than I could find felt in.

Everything exists in a wearable state, ready for Hibanacon!
I’ve got some white flipflops for walking round in and the tabi socks were from Amazon.

The tails are gathered up and have a popper to join them in the middle. This way I can take the wire out for transport.
The wire doesn’t run all the way down so there’s a bit of movement in the ends. The channels are sewn closed at that point to stop the wire moving down into one side and becoming uneven.

To make the tails detachable I’ve rigged up this latch on the back of the belt.
The wire goes through the small loop of elastic and the tails are threaded onto the wire from either side. Then the flap is wrapped round all the gathered fabric to hide the gap and fastened in place.

Circles of gold satin gathered and stuffed to make squishy buttons.

The thin band is ribbon sewn down so it won’t shift out of place. The bow is jersey fabric hooked round the ribbon and cut wider towards the ends.
They don’t match perfectly, but close enough given the challenge is to use up stuff I already have.

Matching belt tails. They will be wired so I’ve edged them in bias tape as a channel. I did want to use a narrower tape, but the wire wouldn’t quite fit, so the black’s not so subtle here.

Morgana has a face now! Felt shapes glued onto the hood.

Cotton leg...things with elastic in the top to keep them up.

The trousers and jumper are from Taobao, we did a group order so everyone would have matching tartan.

Using the back of a shiny black/red two tone fabric to get a nice maroon colour with a bit of sheen.
Trimmed the whole thing in black bias tape to flatten the hems as this fabric doesn’t iron flat.

Backing the belt onto a heavy cotton which I can sew plastic boning onto. This will stop the belt folding up or wrinkling while it’s worn.

Got the trim added to the tunic.
This was much more painful than it should have been as the bobbin kept snagging on the cheap thread I was using. I think I did this 3 times over D:
Tried the tunic on wth the shorts to pick the best hem length and shortened it up.
The collar looked right to me at the old length, but with the sleeves and bottom hem now shorter I think the angle in the collar might be too low. I've left the end unfinished so I can potentially raise it later and I'm going to make the belt next to get a full idea of the finished proportions before messing with it.

Measured out a lot of edging strips today. Because the fabric wasn't long enough I split the neck piece into three with one seam at the back of the neck and at the other at the waist where it will be covered by the belt.

I sewed them into tubes with a long stitch and pressed them flat with an iron. Then i could pull out the loose stitching leaving them folded along the seam allowance, much easier to join to the tunic!

Back onto the main body, now with sleeves!
Had a few setbacks, firstly pinning it inside out and then not reading the pattern instructions and trying to use half the length of ease so I had a gathered sleeve cap at one point.
Needs a good ironing, but I am happy with how it's going.

It's a wearable onesie now! Spliced white onto the arms and legs and joined the hood to the body.
Made a mistake applying the fasteners, but there were 7 in the pack of 6, so I was able to replace it easily. Thank you cosplay fairies!

Just the face and belt details left to make it Morgana :D

I wasn't sure how to do the pin cushion until working with the yellow fleece on Morgana. I love not needing to buy more materials!

The core is cut off a polystyrene ball so that I can stick some fake pins in it later and they'll stand up. Then the whole thing is covered in yellow felt and the edges gathered together as tightly as possible.
I've stitched it to the glove so that I can remove in future without leaving marks.

Sketched out the shape for the scarf over the original pattern pieces and made two tails to stick out of the neck seam.
Looking suspiciously like a P-Chan onesie right now.

Kitty ears! I'm really impressed with this pattern, there is no reinforcement in the cat ears, the gathered base is enough to keep the shape.

Split the pattern on the tail to be black and white.
I found it easiest to stuff the tail as it was turned inside out, making it much easier to reach into the end.

Totally inspired by Storme's Carbuncle Noct, I'm want to make a Morgana onesie to wear with a Persona 5 character wig for a winter con.

Using Simplicity 8276 to make the onesie and it is so relaxing making a pattern without any fitting or altering!
Fleece is super easy to work with and a good tip I read was to use a quick-unpick to keep the layers squashed flat as they go under the sewing machine foot; works like a charm.

The picture is all the pieces cut out and ready to go.

I found some leggings in Primark for less than the fabric would have cost me. Chopped the legs off to Machi length and re-hemmed them with a zig-zag stitch.

Got the tunic fitting and roughly worked out the angles for the wrap front.

I've found a polished cotton with a slight stretch that's reasonably opaque for a white fabric.
These are the pieces cut out and ready to sew, with the extra width added to the front panels to make it a wrap front.

I'm going to use vogue 8772 with alterations to make this.
It's not a wrap front, but it is a reliable pattern I have used previously (Jade - Homestuck) and I don't think extending the overlap and lengthening from the longest option will be too hard. Machi also has fitted sleeve seams that aren't found on traditional Japanese style clothing, so I think it's worth blending styles.

Sewed some wide elastic into the sleeves to make sure they stay gathered evenly under the bracelets.

Glued the jewel into the brooch and added a pin clip on the back.

Painted the base of a clear cabochon with red nail varnish, then when it had dried stuck it to tinfoil with a thin layer of more varnish.
I learnt if you try to stick the foil on with the first thick layer of varnish it all smooshes aside and shows the foil.

To fix up the paint mistake I sanded it down, used a gold acrylic paint for a base-coat and then the rub n buff on top.
The acrylic paint means it's not as perfectly smooth as before, which makes me think in future I'd just use metallic spray paint instead, sorry rub n' buff I'm not convinced you have a purpose.

Inked in the details to make them stand out more clearly with a dark brown.

I decided to try out rub n buff for the metallic effect, thinking spray paint would be too thick.
The effect is very convincing, but I never realised from tutorials that because it's just metallic particles in wax it can be transparent! No matter how much I put on there were some places that always showed the white gesso through, making it look like a patina. Always use this over a matching colour base-coat.

Primed the surface with gesso (except where the gem will be glued) and then spent a very long time sanding and layering while keeping the detail.

Coated the whole thing in worbla to make it sturdier, using a ball point to get it right into the corners and sunken details.

Once the layers were glued together I used a ball point to etch the sunken details into the foam.

The register is made of craft foam glued to black card in a hinge with gold card details and a ribbon threaded through two holes in the spine.

Finished both uniforms. Kumas was simple enough, mine needed a little extra fitting as they were mens jackets, so I unpicked the sleeves and made the shoulders narrower.
Boots we have already and the wig is a darkest blue Prince from Coscraft. I trimmed the front a bit and heated it upside down to get the side parting and some lift in the fringe.

Lucked out as the catering industry uses similar outfits that could be picked up for a tenner! Just need to shorten the jackets, rework the collars to be a stand up design and add a chest pocket from the offcuts. For that price I don't mind a bit of extra work.

Only a few weeks to Minami, but Kuma and I have been watching Silver Spoon and loving it.
If we can find green overalls we will be bringing farming to Minami :D

The glasses arrived from eBay and Ema is ready to go!

I printed out a handy reference of the brooch to use as a template. With three layers of craft foam I was able to build up the basic shape.

The ankle ribbons are two widths of ribbon. The wider one is fastened with a hook and the narrow one is looped round it to hang. I was going to sew them in place, but it ironed so flat that they lock in place all by themselves.

I realised I want this costume to be as simple to wear as possible and doing up the scarf knot evenly was something that could go wrong on the day.
So I tied it up neatly, cut the back of the neck loop off replacing it with elastic and finally sewed the knot in place. Now my scarf is always even and I can pop it on and off over my head in a second!

When it was finally smooth enough the cap was spray painted gold to match the buckle.

Once the Worbla cap was shaped I primed it with Gesso and spent the rest of my life sanding it smooth.

After not being able to find any good buckles from a haberdashery, I found the perfect one already on a belt at ASOS for £5.
I cut the length down match the costume and added a cap by sandwiching the end in Worbla with one piece oversized to cover the sides of the belt.

Note: Future Amy wishes she actually tried to do the belt up at this point instead of finding out after it was painted that I'd made it just wide enough to scrape through the buckle with a bit of damage to the paint job. Lucky it did up at all really!

I had some gold chain trim in my stash which is chunkier than jewellery chain, but will show up on camera better.
Using pliers I made a loop for the necklace big enough to go over my head and the wig. Another length I attached to small elastic hairbands and clasped into a figure 8 with another chain link to make a glasses chain.

The wig is Alex from Coscraft cut to shoulder length with a side parted fringe.

I'm making Kyoko and Ema (Phoenix Wright) at the same time so they can share the labcoat. This means the super pointy Kyoko collar needs to be removable. I'm just tucking it under the real collar and safety pinning it in place.
I don't have any offcuts of the labcoat, so I've used a white suiting that looks similar enough with a stiff interfacing to keep it standing up.

The shirt was a very cheap find on eBay which just needed a popper adding to fasten the collar. The maroon trousers are from Uniqlo, hemmed up into knee-length turn ups.
The poppers have also been added to the waistcoat now.

Different fabric will take different lengths to tie in a knot, so I tied it up again to confirm the length before hemming up the ends and positioning the details.
I added a pale pink ribbon for the line and ironed the scarf down flat.

I already have jade nail varnish and enough pearl drop beads left over from Philia (Tales of Destiny), so I'm painting them up myself and using jewellery pins to make them into pendants.

I got this lab coat from Kuma and did some extensive alterations to narrow the shoulders, flare the sleeves and tailor the fit of the body with darts.

After reading a few tutorials on String Ties, I used a ribbon to estimate how long to make the scarf and then roughed out a pattern based on a bow tie.
I used a red crepe fabric with interfacing to stiffen it.

I got this lab coat from Kuma and did some extensive alterations to narrow the shoulders, flare the sleeves and tailor the fit of the body with darts.

I used trusty NewLook 6914 for the waistcoat. The main fabric is green suiting, the lining is black cotton and the back is grey suiting all from the left over fabric stash. Also managed to find some fairly similar buttons originally bought for The Joker (Batman).

I've made so many of these waistcoats now I forgot to take a photo sooner; here I'm testing out how far apart to set the buttons.
The front is a fake button up, open backed poppers with buttons sewn on top, which saves a lot of time sewing button holes.

Dez asked for a Rival Schools group and Kyoko jumped out as a fairly simple costume I could guarentee finishing for a deadline.
The skirt I already have from Rin (Fruits Basket), the ribbed jumper and heels I found after a few weeks staking out eBay for £15 total and the wig is from Jade (Homestuck) which will need styling to part on the opposite side.

Placed all the sash parts together and sewed them in place to look like a knot.

The sashes are covered in pearls and I was super happy to find you can buy half sphere pearl effect beads! This means I can glue them all down using a ruler to keep the spacing straight and consistent.

Added all the beads to the sashes with jump rings using an awl to avoid snagging the bias.

The sashes have pearl drops dangling off the end, so I ordered plastic pearl effect beads and drops to keep them as light as possible. They were assembled using flat head jewellery pins and pliers.

And then there were two!
One is longer than the other as it includes enough to do a loop. The rest of the knot will be fake, not tied, so the other sash is just long enough to hang down.

Next step is to make the second sash. Having worn the costume once I knew the proportions on the first one were too narrow, so I decided to ditch it and make two new wider sashes instead.
I also found the thin fabrics wrinkled at the seams, so this time I'm sewing the layers onto the canvas inner layer, not just to each other.

Lovely Tales of Destiny group at Amecon with Ninodog and Delusional!
I've now got a list of things to tweak on the costume too.

Brought Tess out again for a reunion and this time we used lots of stage makeup to get a proper grubby and bruised look.
Love the photos from our fun shoot with Zero Drift!

With Amecon coming up and other Tales Cosplayers attending I'm going to take the opportunity to have a trial run with what I've got so far.

All the colour change seams are hidden under bias binding and then sewn to the white backing with a layer of canvas sandwiched inside to keep the shape.

The sash is made of 3 sections sewn together; black suiting, white dress fabric, red dress fabric.
I used the same methods for the gold vinyl detail as the dress trims, the swirls were really fiddly to cut out!

Made a freehand pattern for the sash details and then mirrored it to make sure it's symmetrical.

The belt is a red crepe tube with a layer of canvas inside and three strips of vertical boning in the front to help keep the shape once the weight of the sashes is added.
The whole thing is trimmed with gold bias binding.

The front skirt panel is hemmed shorter than the rest to give the appearance of being on a different layer, then the green strip is hand sewn along the top so it hangs in place.
The red panels were carefully trimmed back along the gold diagonal edge, then all the layers, including gold satin lining, are sewn into the side seams which were left open earlier.
The red panels are then hemmed to the gold lining along the vinyl design.

The green sections are being placed on top of the dress, so they needed facings to make the edges neat.

I added interfacing to the base fabric first to stabilise it, then spent a long time firmly pressing the vinyl on under a tea towel for protection from the iron. I'm really happy with how it's come out and my arms need a break!

I drew round the stencil onto the vinyl, be sure to do this the mirrored way round as the drawn on side will be face down when it's ironed on!
Then carefully cut into the vinyl only which is very thin. The clear backing stays intact to keep the whole thing aligned and easy to move, very clever.

The final fitting! Looking forward to some awesome Morrigan cosplay :D

Using the bottom of the skirt pattern as an outline I am freehanding a design for the trim by merging all the concept art angles. They're not very consistant.

Pink power net for the gloves was attached to silicone tape to keep it in place on the arms.
Double layered feather trim for the straps with the feathers trimmed away at either end for the straps. These popper onto the corset front and back, then the middle poppers onto the band of the long gloves to keep the off the shoulder look.

This took quite a while to lace, there are 4m of lacing on this bodysuit.
Not having a busk opening on your corset means you need to have enough lacing to expand the whole bodysuit (including the reduced waist) over the hips. This takes a very long time to get into and out of and when it's done up you'll have metres of lacing to loop up out of the way, so be prepared!
With this costume we were able to hook the extra lacing around the wing harness and hide it with the long wig.

At this point I added poppers to the inside front and back of the corset for the feather straps to attach to, it made sense to allow them to be packed separately or replaced later.

Added a pleather trim round the top and bottom edges to finish the look.

Covered eyelets were requested, so I sewed the pleather layer to the corset with an overlap for the eyelets and edged it in bias tape.
Alternatively I could have included this pleather back panel under the eyelet tape attached to the corset layer before sewing the outer layer together.

The modesty panel has been sewed in on one side with enough of a gap to get to the lacing.

Ordered iron on vinyl from www.mdpsupplies.co.uk
They had two types of gold and I've never worked with iron on vinyl before, so I made lots of small testers with different combinations of fabric. Took a little practice, but it seems like it will do exactly what I need.

I got the petticoats on and stood on a stool to hem the skirt to length with a little help from a friend. It took ages!

Added the zip to the dress and slip stitched the lining to it.
For the sleeves I layered the pink fabric over the skirt fabric so they would drape nicely and caught the bodice lining in the arm seam to secure it.

Very fiddly, but I managed to stitch down the lining up against the lacing and overlock all the edges.

The lining and skirts have been added now with just the front panel layered with pink like the bodice. The very bottom seams of the front panel have been left open to fit the trim on later.
You may notice the thin band at the waistline. I forgot to add onto the bottom of the bodice pattern when I raised the bustline to fit me, so the waist came out a little high. To keep the skirts long enough I added this extra strip knowing the sash belt will hide it in the end.

The lining is exactly the same pattern as the pleather layer, cut from soft cotton. I've also made a modesty panel to sit behind the lacing from pleather and cotton edged with bias binding to keep down the number of layers.
Here I'm pinning the lining to the corset layer ready to be sewn together around the top edge.

The pink fabric needs to be layered onto white fabric to stop it being see-through and give it some strength. I've decided to back the body of the dress in white cotton rather than the dress fabric because the dress fabric has a bit of give to it and the weight of all those skirts will stretch the body making it hard to predict how to shape it. This way it will stay exactly the same fit before and after the skirts are added.

Each panel was cut out twice; once in the white cotton and again a bit larger from the pink fabric so if it shifts I don't have to start again. These are sewn together inside the seam allowance with a long stitch to keep everything lined up.
The pattern was then sewn together normally before overlocking the seams to trim back that excess pink fabric and stop it fraying apart.

Started with a mockup of the top of the dress, lengthening and slashing the sleeve pattern to get the baggy gathered sleeves I need.

Using Butterick 4571 as a base for this costume, because the central panel design will allow me to fake her layered skirts.
This will nearly half the amount of fabric needed for the dress, mean I only need to pattern a front panel worth of trim and ensure the overlay is always laying straight for photos. Saving time, money and keeping it easy to wear!

The white and teal fabrics were bought late last year, they're both the same lightweight draping fabric off a market stall.
Still undecided about whether I want the same fabric as the dress or a different texture for the cape to break up all that white. I got 10 meters so I should be able to do either way.

In the spirit of recycling I'm going to use the leftovers from Dahna and Maria to do all the red and black parts of the costume.

The pink was a trial to find. I wanted something subtle against the white and preferably as thick. I really didn't want the fuss of dealing with chiffon doubled up with a strength fabric, as even though the colour would be easy to get that way it's a nightmare for getting snagged and ruined.
After going through every shop and stall finding only peachy or bright pinks (and a billion perfect pink chiffons), I got a compromise fabric that might be a heavy georgette. It's still sheer enough that I'll have to back it on white, but it shouldn't destroy itself on contact and the colour is spot on. As an extra bonus it was £1 a meter for some marks at the edge and I got extra as it was the end of the roll!

I made a heart template on paper and used that to carefully cut out the heart shape from the pleather layer.
At the same time I stitched flesh coloured power net over the corset layer central panel, this will show through the hole and hide the corset layer from view. I purposely angled the boning in the front of the corset to sit just to either side of this heart so there wouldn't be any raised lines in it.

I'd been keeping track of all the pattern changes on the paper pattern, so we did another fitting using the cotton mock up over the corset layer to get any changes now needed on the lower half of the bodysuit. Most importantly, this was the moment where we had to decide on the final shape of the leg line on the bodysuit.
Using this I could start the pleather outer layer to cover the corset.

Another few fittings and the corset layer is ready! It's always trial and error with corset fittings as different bodies will squish or displace differently as you change the shape.
I've now added the boning tape over the seams too and stitched everything closed around the bottom edge.

I added heavy duty eyelet tape and boning tape from www.venacavadesign.co.uk where I get all my corset supplies. For now I'm only adding the tape on the panels, allowing some boning while leaving the seams clear for adjustments at fittings.

With the new pattern I added a waist reduction of 1 inch and cut out the corset layer from coutil.

After many years slowly tweaking I've finally got this costume to a point where I'm happy with it. The wig looked neatly styled for all of the 10 mins we were indoors before the wind had it's way with it, but even with that setback it looks a million times better than the first time I wore it and so many people asked how I got all my hair under such a short wig (wig caps are truly magical).

MinamiCon was a great chance to have some fun shoots with fellow KoF Cosplayers Delusional and Mighty Odango!
This photo was the moment we realised Delusional had left the price stickers on her shoes XD

Plastic boning keeps the mockup smooth during fitting. We made all the adjustments on this version to get an initial fit, marking the new seams. Then I unpicked the mockup and copied the changes onto the paper pattern.

After taking measurements I started with a mockup based on the default pattern in the closest size. Doing this in spare cotton saves us wasting corset materials later and going over budget.

The pattern is a bunny suit by Rufflebutt, which required a bit of puzzling to get printed out at the right scale.
Unlike commercial printable patterns it's missing a reference scale marker, but we got there in the end!

My friend is after a Morrigan costume and I have been wanting to try a more complicated corset style, so I took up the challenge.
I will be making the corseted bodysuit and the gloves; the rest of the costume is not part of this project.

The lovely Mighty Odango made both our sets of earrings so we could be matching with the same kind of beads <3

The necklace is a black ribbon. I just knotted it when I wore Vice to Expo and it seemed to stick out all over the place unpredictably. To make sure it always sat correctly in future I hand sewed a tiny black popper in where it crosses over and this completely solved the problem.

I thought there was no hope for this wig and had bought a replacement to try again. However, the colour work I'd already put into it made me reluctant to drop it, so when I picked up a razor comb I used this as a practice wig. Turns out thinning it down and evening out the length is so much easier with a razor than with scissors and it looks usable again! Short styled wigs used to be my nemesis, but no longer :D

The back of the waistcoat had the back point raised, but this made the edge a bit flimsy, so I added some interfacing along the inside to keep the shape crisp.
To match up with Mighty Odango I used some scrap jersey and a buckle from my stash to make a fake strap on the back. The buckle is also tacked to the waistcoat to prevent it sagging.

Planning a photoshoot with MightyOdango as Mature has taken me back to the tweaks I started in 2012.
The bondaweb is amazing stuff, but with wear it will eventually peel off from the edges, so I had a go at appliqué to secure all the rectangles down. Initially tried a very narrow stitch, but the red frays quite easily so I had to unpick a few rows of trial and error before settling for a medium width that would cover the edge well.

Because one of the fabrics was stretch it was really important to use a regular stitch round the edge before the appliqué (even though it's stuck down) or the corners would stretch out really badly! Thankfully worked that out before I had to unpick more than one rectangle.

Photo shows before on the left and appliqué on the right.

Finished everything in good time for Minami and this time I had the lovely Angelphie with me as Yvaine!

MinamiCon was a lot of fun and we had a great turn out on the Sohma family gathering!
Thanks everyone :)

Picked up a skirt in Primark for £3. It was a perfect rectangle so I had to unpick the waistband and take it in towards the waist. She's all ready to go now!

Decided to go with dark brown for the wrist cuffs to fit with the brown boots, which got through some of the leftover Maria pleather!

Unfortunately I didn't have any silver buckles in the right size, so I had to break my freebie streak. I made the most of it by ordering bridle buckles as a little nod to the character :)

First I made paper templates of all the pieces, then I cut one set out of the pleather. To get a neat edge each of these pieces is then sewn to a larger piece (to allow for any stretching/shifting) before cutting that down to match the smaller piece.
Important tip - double layering the pleather will require slightly longer templates than a single layer.

The buckle strap is sewn round the buckle and sewn to the base cuff. This stitching is hidden by the small loop which is attached with studs. Finished with decorative eyelets.

There are lots of different ways of making the necklace out of painted sheet materials, but didn't want this costume to take up much time. At the last moment I remembered I had metalic silver FIMO which wouldn't need any finishing!

Started by making a paper template of the cross which I had to trim down. Once I'd got the size sorted I rolled out a blob of FIMO until it was almost the thickness I wanted before inserting a headpin with a loop pre-formed in the top. Once that was in the FIMO could be flattened to the final thickness, sealing the pin inside. With the template laid on top I just had to cut the straight edges out with a craft knife.

I did make a rookie mistake by not crafting directly on the baking tray, as moving it over caused some small marks. I got away with it though :)

Suede lacing from Cesia finishes it off.

Facings both sewn in to leave a neat edge :D

Taking this opportunity to finish missing bits and bobs.

The sleeves now have gathers over the straps, this meant unpicking the turned under hem I rushed in originally, which took ages. Then a strip of matching fabric 3 times the length required was gathered up and sewn down with the inside seam allowance tucked under and the outside edge tacked down flat to catch into the seam allowance at the arm hole.
Another option would be to finish the arm hole and then hand sew the outside edge tucked under, but I'll avoid hand sewing whenever I can!

A good thing about manga only designs is having a choice of colours within the contrast pictured, perfect for budget closet cosplay!

I already own a very similar top and not so similar (but will fit the overall look) boots.
Then for the wig I still have the long black fringed style from Kendappa/Arashi.

In a stroke of incredible luck Dylon released a special edition colour that blew all my manual mixing of dyes out of the water! I bought a couple of packs to be safe and finally plucked up the courage to put the dress and left over fabric through the wash. I was a little nervous about putting my handiwork through that, especially with the purposely raw edged trim, but it came out with only a few trailing frayed threads.

The new colour took perfectly and looks spot on. The plain trim at the bottom of the skirt even took to a close enough shade that I won't worry about matching and replacing it.

Added an interfaced strip for the waistband and put my overlocker to good use to finish off the inside. Just need to stitch a popper into the overlap, but skirt is done!

Took a week off to learn how to use my overlocker. I bought it many years ago for Kendappa and rarely use it, but saw an online course and decided I should really learn to make the most of it. Now wishing I'd used it on so many past costumes!
Started off by overlocking the fraying seams on this skirt (post hemming, but better than nothing).

Haine's pleated skirt was hidden under a long shirt, so I got away with making a wide yoke waistband with straight pleats attached. This time more of the skirt is on show, so I have to take it in at the waist properly.

On the inside of each pleat I added a fold to take in some fabric where it wouldn't show or distort the straight lines, I had to do this to most of them to reduce the waist enough, just leaving the very front and back pleats untouched.

Stitched the whole lot down in place, complete with a despair moment of the bobbin silently running out half way through meaning I had to re-pin D:

I've never put a zip into a pleat, so I spent a while thinking of the best way to keep it hidden, knowing it would be similar to the way I'd done the seams.
Still had to unpick and try it again after forgetting one side couldn't be topstitched (it needs to lay over the zip to hide it) >.<

It took ages, but they're all done!

I just needed to add one extra panel of 3 pleats, joined with a standard seam forming the innermost angle of the pleat. Totally invisible :D

Started on the pleated skirt and remembered why I haven't made one since Haine...I am so very slow at pleating :'(

Most of the refs show about 8-10 pleats, so I've gone with 20 pleats for the full skirt. As I'm not an anime waif, going for the upper estimate on pleats will look more in proportion. I divided my hip measurement by the number of pleats to get the size for each pleat.

You need a long rectangle of fabric 2.5 times longer than the goal measurement, but my fabric isn't long enough to do it all in one go so I'll be joining extra pleated panels on later (the seams will be hidden on inner pleat lines and I'm not accurate enough to measure the placement in advance).

The first step is to hem the whole length, then you can start the pleating. I rolled the hem over twice, but where I used a heavy weight fabric I would have been better off overlooking the edge and just rolling once. Trying to press these thick hems with my iron was like wrangling a dragon.

Be careful to always iron on the inside of the fabric, or use a towel/paper to stop it getting burned. So much steam, my hair went curly! I'm pinning each pleat as I move onto the next one so they won't fall out under the nearby steam.

I delved into the fabric hoard in the hope of finding some cream suiting left over from Maria. Even better than hoped, I came out with everything needed for this costume!

Cream mid weight suiting, brown heavy weight (but soft) twill, brown zip, white ribbon, even the wig I bought for Vice v2 matches Hitomi.
Especially pleasing that I've been carting this brown suiting around since I was in college and nearly chucked it every clear out. Finally its time has come as it is perfect for this costume.

Good to be reducing the hoard rather than adding to it for once.

The final fit! Really pleased with how it's turned out, feeling a lot more confident about tackling Elizabeth later.

Note: I haven't laced the corset properly (with the loops at the waist) as this lacing is for another project and I wanted to try it on quickly :D

Finally trim off the edges and cover them with bias binding for a neat finish. As this is meant to be an undergarment I just machine stitched it down in one go, so the front is neat, but the inside is out of line. For anything meant to be visible I'd take the time to apply it properly.

I keep forgetting that there's no hemming on corsets and several times nearly made it too long.

Once the bones are in, sew along the top to trap them in place (careful not to sew into a bone).

Measure the boning channels and pick suitable lengths to go in each channel. I bought pre-cut and tipped boning from VenaCava as the cost difference is tiny unless you make a lot of corsets and after all those eyelets my hands appreciate the break!

I used straight steels for the lacing and spiral steels for everything else (spirals have to be used in channels that curve sideways, but otherwise you can use whichever you prefer).

Now is the fiddly part of matching up the lining to the coutil.
Pin down the seams and along the top and bottom edges. The lining is likely to be a flimsier fabric, so being slightly off on one seam could result in a lot of bagging further along, you might need to pull areas flat to see where it sits best.

Sew along the bottom edge and then you can sew your boning channels from bottom to top (this stops the lining pulling away from the edge). You could also use boning tape if the lining's too flimsy, but this method is free!

Sew in the remaining pieces of lining to make a tube, iron the seams down and then flip the whole thing inside out to get your final corset halves.

While it's a good thing for a curvy corset to settle into your shape over time, you want the waist to stay the size you set and this is done with a waist tape for reinforcement. I used grosgrain ribbon, you can also use prussian/twill tape.

If you've marked the waistline on your fabric it's as easy as lining the tape up with this and sewing it down from the busk to the eyelets, securing at each seam on the way. Make sure the tape is level on either side of the busk/eyelets, I found it helpful to pin the far end as I worked along the seams to stop it shifting off line, but check the length per panel when sewing it down or it could end up too loose to be useful.

Same as before, but this time you can pop some boning into the channels round the lacing, the busk in the front and the strong coutil fabric, so you can try out any waist reduction you've added into the pattern.

Most likely there will only be minor tweaks at this point, unless you've made a real tight lacer, in which case the golden rule might come into play. I just had to smooth out one of the hip seams and let out the back at the top a little, nice and simple.

Tuck the lining pieces out of the way and sew in the rest of the coutil panels.
Now you're ready for another fitting, incase your final fabric behaves slightly differently to your mock-up.

Note: This particular pattern says to iron the seams out to either side. I can't help feeling this is a weakness in the corset to just rely on the stitches despite all this strong fabric, so I sewed each seam twice. Especially suspicious after the under bust pressed them to one side, reinforcing the structure. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

Sew the back panel coutil to the lining, creating the boning channels for the lacing.

Decide how far apart you want your eyelets and mark the centres on the fabric. I used 4mm eyelets with washers and the pattern suggested 3/8" apart. For even tension you'll want them regularly spaced.

Note: It's really important to get eyelets with washers so they won't pop out under tension or cut into the fabric.

Using an awl, make holes big enough for the eyelets without breaking the threads. If anyone knows any tips for minimising warping around the eyelets from putting them so close and between the boning channels I'd love to hear them. Eventually I found folding along the channel so I could keep tension on both sides got the best results, but it's still visible.

Finally sacrifice your hands to the inevitable crippling of pressing all those eyelets!

On a layered corset you sew the busk between the coutil and the lining, no facings needed.

Trace round the hooks and sew in between them to make the first casing, then use a zipper foot to sew closely along the back of the sandwiched busk.

Once that's secure you can line the hook side up with the remaining front piece and mark inside each hook for the post placement. Then it's a matter of poking an awl through the coutil layer to make holes for the posts without cutting any of the fabric so it won't fray apart under the tension of being worn. Finally use the zipper foot again to trap the post busk in place.

Finally got the perfect opportunity to wear this when Mighty Odango organised a photo shoot day out with several cosplayers and photographers. Asylum is an abandoned, run down chapel inside, but the frontage has these beautiful white pillars and outrageously imposing door. It was a really fun day :)

I raided Primark for bling where I found this awkward, bulky necklace which I took apart to build something that fit the look of the outfit (unfortunately forgot to take a photo before dismantling it).

I did research lots of elaborate makeup possibilities, but then I chose a wig and realised any full fringe would hide the largely eye centric designs, so I pulled it back to something more subtle.

When I first made up the bolero pattern it was far too wide across the shoulders, so I re-stitched the sleeves an inch further into the shoulders. It still didn't quite sit right, so before the photo shoot I added a centre seam down the back to quickly take out 2 more inches! I couldn't understand why it was so drastically wrong, but then I worked with a pattern that included separate pieces for cup sizes and suddenly it all made sense. This was a problem I'd always had, but on a shoulders only style like the bolero jacket it was more prominent.

Commercial patterns are drafted for a B-cup figure. When you pick your matching bust size off the pattern that measurement might be made up of a large cup size on a small chest or a small cup size on a large chest; very different shapes but the same measurement. This one measurement also dictates the fit over the shoulders and upper chest, which means it will be too large if you are bigger than a B-cup.

The solution is to use your 'high bust' (chest on the pic) measurement to get a more accurate size for shoulders and back, you can then adjust the front pieces to add more bust room where it's actually used! This blew my mind, it totally explained problems I'd had altering patterns before.

Final step was to get a bit of engine grease on everything! Fun and messy; I put the costume on, put black acrylic paint on my hands and wiped it off wherever you would when working. Hands in pockets, down the front and on the hips/thighs, then I added a little over the patches to make them look more worn in.

It was very unlikely I'd find one of her actual tops, so I decided on the guidelines of a busy pattern with a minimum of 3 colours and no black. Turns out is very hard to find long sleeve tops that don't have black as a base, but I finally found this beaut on eBay for less than a tenner with the term 'bodycon'.

The bead was sculpted from rose quartz effect Fimo. I'm so impressed with the new textures you can get these days it really does look convincing.
To paint the pattern on I decided to use nail polish as it sticks to Fimo without reacting and won't need sealing, you can also cleanly peel off any mistakes while it's still setting.
After an awful first attempt I watched some nail art videos on youtube and found it's more about dabbing than brushing. I dug out a ballpoint tool and did the flowers as a group of four dots and then used the side of a pin to lay down the branches before tidying up the edges by scratching the polish away with the pin point.

Oh my goodness, all these photos are of the same fabric and every image looks a different colour! The power of lighting, folks.

The flower is clearly some kind of embroidered patch, but between image quality and the engineer grime you can't make out much detail. I've not done any embroidery before so I got up a google image of different stitches and picked one that resembled a tiny part of the reference and filled space effectively - chain stitch.
Started by drawing out the layout with a tailors pencil, did the initial dark blue outline and then filled with lines of chain stitch until it was full. The very centre was a french loop. It was easy but slow work; this took several hours and it's tiny.
Finally, to make it look more worn in I brushed it over with sandpaper to fluff up the neat new threads.

There are lots of helpful sites discussing the Chinese characters on her overalls, so I used those and one reference where the characters on the right thigh are clearly styled as thin horizontal lines and thick vertical lines as my guide.
I used a tailors pencil to mark out placement and size before drawing them on properly with a chisel tip black fabric pen. Once they were all on I went over them with sandpaper to fade the black down to an older worn-in look (see right of image for pre vs post sanding).

I had a sleeve put aside as spare fabric for the pocket, luckily I realised I could use the sleeve seam as a ready made front to the pocket. This made the pocket really as simple as cutting out a rectangle and pinning it to the overalls with all the edges folded under.

Once it was on I took the trusty sandpaper to the new edges.

The overalls were so much wider than my shoulders I had to reshape the armholes.
I then took a pattern of the new shape onto paper and cut two facings out of one of the removed sleeves. Sew these to the outside of the overalls and flip them to the inside for neat curved edges.

A good side to the overalls being too big is that there was room for me to add the two waist darts in the front. The rest of the excess I removed from the centre front when I put the zip in.
It was pretty easy adding the zip until the crotch as it was built for a button overlap rather than a central zip. I sewed most of the way down and then pinned the zip in place where it best merged into the overlap before top stitching it down.
I kept the button flap facings to cover the zip on the inside as she has the collar folded back so far.

Taking material out of the front made the collar run right up to the zip and it was far too big anyway, so I unpicked that and shortened it up.

Finally I sewed the waist band back down securing the pockets and leaving a centre gap.

I used felt sheets to make the patches and backed them with heat n' bond which was handy to keep them in place while sewing them to the overalls.
The details on the bear patch are drawn with permanent markers.
The flower was a quick placeholder; it's layered blue felt with a gold stud in the centre.

Ordered the renowned Dutch military overalls from eBay as my base.
I asked the seller for sizing advice as these things are unisex sized by chest/height and I have hips. I suspect they just gave me a size that would definitely be big enough rather than measuring any stock as it's huge on me.
There are listings for new and used military overalls and I picked used ones as it saves me a lot of time artificially ageing them. The fabric is nicely faded and the seams have been worn down already, I'll only need to sand down new edges I add.

I'll take off the sleeves, epaulettes and button front which I can use as spare fabric. Then I'll need to add the darts, pocket, zipper front and generally tweak the size to make it fit me better.

The jumper dress is based on New Look 6179 - a raglan sleeve top extended to dress length. This way I can avoid having lots of seams visible and use a soft stretch jersey.

Copious amounts of paint on the trouser hems, splashing higher on the inside leg. Followed this up with sandpapering to wear it in and scuff up the edges of the rips.

The finished bag, trashed and ready!
This was SO useful at the con, more pockets and bags in cosplay, please.

It was tough to find a material like the ref and I didn't want to paint the design as it would just come straight off with the sandpaper weathering technique.
In the end Kuma found a bandana with a similar enough trim on it, so I cut off this trim from three sides of the bandana and sewed them end to end to make one strip of just the design I wanted, long enough to tie as a headscarf.
A few patches of acrylic 'mud' and it was good to go!

I ripped the sleeves off to get a rough looking edge and then attacked them with sandpaper and acrylic paint.

Picked up 'burnt umber' and 'sap green' acrylic paint which mixed to make a great murky dirt brown.
After a bit of trial and error I got the best effect by painting it on normally, working it into the nooks of seams and top stitching, then going over it with coarse sandpaper (like dry-brushing for fabric). This tattered up the surface and left the paint looking properly worn into the fabric.

Extra sandpapering on points of wear (hems, pockets, fastenings, knees/elbows etc) made it look even older. The photo is a comparison shot when I'd only done the right hand side.

Finally I added some random mud wipe marks and sandpapered those down to look like old grime.

The weather was so nice this weekend! We took to the garden to stomp and stain everything.

The tea/grass/dirt marks looked really good in person, but too subtle for costume photos. Bring on the acrylic paint!

For tips on weathering we referred to http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Clothes-Look-Vintage-and-Worn (spot the surprise Laura).

Looking at the references all the characters clothes are in surprisingly good condition, so I didn't want to go slashing things up too much. Using a craft knife I sliced along the hems and a few small patches on the thighs before throwing the jeans in the wash to fray. The photo is pre-wash so the cuts aren't very obvious.

So happy with the colours. Everything lightened up a little once dry, so I'm glad I didn't water anything down.

I used Dylon 'olive green' dye for the bag and 'burlesque red' for the shirt.
As expected from Primarni, although the shirt was 100% cotton, the stitching was polyester and stayed pure white. Annoying, but seeing as I'm trashing it anyway it's not a major problem.

Around the time I took this photo I realised I'd dyed the wrong bag! Beware groups with similar yet not identical items D:
In the end I kept this bag and we poured the left over purple and green dyes together to get a murky brown for Kuma's bag.

I already had some old jeans and boots, so I just needed to pick up a shirt, bag and headband.
I couldn't find the exact items, but I was able to get the right style bag and shirt in the wrong colours. Everything was cotton and pale so I grabbed it anyway and picked up fabric dye.

Woo, second zip fly ever and it went perfectly!
These have turned out to be super easy as long as I wasn't tempted to skip adding the big loose basting stitches that hold the fly in place whilst you sew the zip in.

Got my dog tags from eBay super cheap.
Went with standard army info:
Last Name
First Name
Security No
Blood Type

Then instead of religion or military branch I put her code name because Mithril doesn't exist to the outside world (plausible deniability and all that).

Fresh from an army surplus store on eBay and the right size first time!
The great thing about army gear is it's everywhere and it's cheap. It is well worth questioning sellers on the sizes; I was quoted a huge range of inches for items listed with the same dress size.

I'm using the trouser pattern from Vogue 1132 as it hit all the key features: high waist, wide waistband, simple flat pockets and wide legs (I also really love the jacket in this pack).

I'm using a dark blue cotton drill, which should make for a smart uniform. I was going for the darker Brotherhood shade over the royal blue of the original series and this was the closest I could get.

I was torn between getting black or blue and wanted a base wig with a fairly short style at the back. In the end I went for this Sword Art Online character wig from Coscraft in a lovely dark blue. There's lots of styling to do at the front, but just a simple trim at the back :D

Finished in time for the Expo and had a great day with Kuma as Booker! There were lots of fantastic Bioshock cosplayers there; even Lutece twins and Vox Populi! Of course we had to get a looting photo - so disgusting, Booker! XD

Found a few things I need to tweak if I wear it again; the cuffs need to be a bit looser, I'd like to add the stitch lines on the corset and the bolero doesn't sit right (I think the shoulders are still too wide). These are all easy changes thankfully.

The only noticeable problem was it was a windy day and the second I stepped outside my wig styling was irrelevant, I'll be using hairspray next time!

Now that's over I have time to finish the game. Must...find...lockpicks :D

I bought an Ash wig in 'rich dark brown' from CosCraft.
Using a hairdryer I flattened out the flicks then trimmed the back up to make it chin length all round and put a few shorter bangs into the front.

I bought a blue ribbon and white paint marker planning to draw the circle pattern on the ribbon, but was worried I didn't have much time left.
In a crazy stroke of luck I looked in Kat's lace basket on a whim one morning and there was a lace the same width as my ribbon with the double circle motif I probably couldn't have found in a shop if I'd tried! Hours saved!

They cameo mounts are a bit too small after all, but these will have to do for now. I removed the necklace loop with the dremmel, printed out my cameo picture and then glued the mount, picture and cabochon together with all purpose glue.

Plan was to make the bird and the cage and swap them over when I felt like it, but I like the antique brass more than the shiny silver, so the cage won out this time.

I added the black stripes on by hand using black bias binding, following the lines of the boning channels so it would all look smooth. Because I was adding it onto a complete corset I couldn't have the black stripe under the eyelets at the back, a little artistic licence there. Also getting a needle to go through the fabric over flat steel is ridiculously fiddly, so I had to get some curved needles. As this was hand sewing that would take a long time I took it on holiday with me and sewed it on the beach instead of taking a book XD

I'd ordered black lacing for my corset project when I thought I'd use it for Elizabeth, so I just swapped that with the white lacing the corset came with.

Found a nice lace to double layer for the top edge trim that featured similar circles to her choker design; as I couldn't find anything that matched the reference I liked the idea of it tying in to the design in some other way instead.

Did the first black stripe on the corset as a tester as this was my last chance to order a different corset if I had to.
Awls are so handy, it made getting this over the busk posts super easy. I think this looks ok, but it took an hour to do this one stripe because it's incredibly hard to get the needle back out when it's flat against the steel busk. Going to invest in some curved needles so I don't go mental.

Originally I'd been planning to hijack my corset project for this costume, but as time flew past working on the velvet parts I realised I wouldn't be able to finish in time, what with work and travelling abroad before Expo. Instead I hit the internet and was lucky enough to find a basic plain white corset on sale for half price. It's a shorter style than Elizabeth's and made from a shinier fabric than the photo suggested, but it's steel boned and when the details are added the fabric won't be as noticeable.

A friend who'd finished the game already kindly offered to reference hunt on Google for me so I wouldn't hit accidental spoilers XD They got some great ones of the corset which were so handy as I was worried there wouldn't be any of the back!

The bird or the cage?

I want to make both and swap them over occasionally :)
I've found the exact cameo mounting on eBay in antique brass and silver along with some clear cabochons. They're a tiny bit too small, but the next size up seems far too big, so I'll see what these are like.

I decided to make the cuffs separate to the bolero to keep things simple. They were drafted in paper and made in duchess satin I had left over from an old project. They do up with poppers and sit over the bolero sleeves.

Trimmed the skirt up until the petticoat trim showed.
Included a shot of the underside because I love how much space the frills take up, so much petticoat!

I altered the pattern to taper the sleeves down the arm and add a gather at the shoulder.
Despite cutting a size smaller, the shoulders were still inches too wide! Not sure what's up with this pattern, but I had to mark a new arm hole closer in to the body.

Started the little bolero jacket.
I've made this once already for my circus costume and it came out too big so I've cut a size smaller this time. I need to tweak new sleeves and a collar as the pattern's not enough like Elizabeth's.
Lined the body in duchess satin as I had some large scraps lying around and wanted something structural under the flimsy velvet that won't look out of place if it happens to show. The sleeves I'm just lining with cheap cotton as there's no way you can see inside them and it needs to gather at the shoulders without being too bulky.

Super simple four panel skirt with a zip in the back. Needs hemming up to show the petticoat frills.
Learnt at this point to store velvet items inside out so they don't catch all the dust.

Hunted out my Una petticoat to re-use with this costume.
It needs some little adjustments; for some reason I needlessly made it longer at the back to match the overdress and I overdid the extra fabric in the drawstring waist making it quite bulky.

Took the waist in and shortened up the hemline at the back of the petticoat. Now it's all level and ready for Elizabeth :D

Did some test stitching with scraps of the velvet to check my machine set-up, but ran out of time to actually sew the skirt. Looks like this particular velvet doesn't shift as long as you press the pile together before feeding it under the machine foot and pin perpendicular to the seam, that'll make things much easier!

Originally I planned to use a non-stretch cotton velvet for this, but I had to pop to the fabric shops after work and only a few were still open. I saw this lovely one-way stretch velvet was only £5p/m so I jumped on that instead of the pricey rolls! At least being one-way it won't stretch length-wise under it's own weight and mess with the skirt hem length, so the stretch shouldn't matter, it's just not quite as plush.

I took this photo to decide which way I wanted the pile to lay on the costume. I'm going with the traditional stroking upward direction (on the right) as this gives the richer and darker colour. Thank goodness I did because having just cut out the skirt pieces I've found one of them has some fold marks that won't steam out, but they're barely visible this way up. Phew!

Sewed the ears to a matt black fabric covered headband as it'll be hidden by the hood. Because of their curved shape they sit both sides of the band and are really stable on there.

Put the hood on with the ears on top to mark where the holes needed to go and then cut them out slightly bigger than needed so I could overlap the tabs and still have enough room.

Add buttons....done!

Note: By overlapping the tabs it adds a pivot point to the hood hem and it will tend towards a point at the top of the opening, if I wear this again I'd add something round the inside hem to hold a nice curve. Maybe horsehair braid or a thin light boning.

I bit the bullet and cut the ponytail with no problems. Decided to leave it loose till the con and tie on the day so it would be neat.

Painted up the camera with acrylic and added some weathering on the deep grooves. I would have liked to sand it more, but I ran out of time so this is as smooth as it gets :)

Rounded at the front and pointy down the back. It was pretty fiddly to sew to the hood, so I just did the outside seam properly and tacked the lining up in a few places.

1. Acquire super cheap shoes in the right colour so gaps don't show.
2. Rough up the surface with sandpaper so the glue will grip.
3. Cover in PVA glue and sprinkle on glitter.
4. Use a piece of paper to press it down (sticks to fingers) and tap the excess off.

5. Magic!


Once it's had time to dry I'm going to do a top coat of PVA to seal it all in.

Also, learning from the last outing, I've added a thin elastic strap across the foot using contact adhesive. Black elastic should blend with the black stripes on the tights and stop the shoes falling off all the time.

Second ear done :D
Exactly the same method as the first ear, but all the folding and snipping was so much neater with all the edges flush like puzzle pieces rather than overlapping. Urge to re-do the first, but resisting as white doesn't show detail very well, it'll probably all blur out under flash anyway XD

One fluffy ear done!
I worked this in three stages: Covered the back wrapping over the edges, covered the front carefully cutting level with the edge and finally a spot of longer fur in the middle.

I started off using contact adhesive thinking I could get a thin layer that wouldn't soak through, but it's very yellow and does show in places, so I swapped to all purpose clear glue. Hoping the second ear will be much neater.

Minky fur is the softest substance known to man, I can't stop stroking these!

I can't cut any holes in the hood until I know the position and size of the ears.

Going back to my first ears they seemed too small and flat, so I had another go with bigger patterns and some more heat shaping tests. In the end it needed more depth so I added some darts and I swapped to 3mm medium density EVA foam so they wouldn't get crushed easily.
Pictured at the bottom are the final shapes waiting for the contact adhesive to set on the darts, then I can heat them to shape at the sides.

Found this really interesting blog on dress sizes in Victorian times - The same as they are now really :)

http://thepragmaticcostumer.wordpress.com/2013/01/28/va-va-voom-victorians-historical-costuming-in-the-xl/

Looked at where the tunic wasn't fitting and most noticeably the shoulder seams are hanging way over my shoulders and the horizontal bust darts are slightly below my bust line so it wrinkles a lot.

I had to unpick the sleeves so I could take in the shoulder seams and the side seams to raise the bust darts and reposition the armholes. Then I put the sleeves back on at my actual shoulder width and took the back darts in a tad more before re-trimming the pointed hem to meet at the sides again.

It's made a massive difference, the whole thing looks so much neater on.

To keep the hood in place I'm lining it with a normal shaped hood in the same jersey material. As you can see in the photo, the tailed hood is wider round the neck, so I need to cut it back till they match then I can sew them together.

Shortened and took in the seams on the skirt to make it a half circle pattern as the full circle looked like too much fabric around the hips where it was falling in lots of deep folds. Also bought a swing dress petticoat to give the skirt more poof (another way to fill out those folds). I love it, more skirts in future!

It's based on Simplicity 1819 which I picked up as a bolero pattern for Elizabeth (a bonus that it came with other cool pieces). This was a good excuse to test run the fit and do something fun at the same time.

I'm really impressed with how easy it was to put together. The secret is that bustle skirts are basically rectangular sheets (sometimes with a curved hem) and it's how you gather and hook it up that makes it a particular style. The hardest part was getting the layers of fabric (mainly the duchess satin) to gather up as tightly as required into the waistband at the back.

I made the bustle skirt and bolero in three evenings for a work party with a circus theme.

Originally I wanted a stripey outer fabric with a harlequin lining, in the end I had to go with spots as there were no stripey fabrics on the market that day.
The base skirt is black duchess satin I had left over from another project, the top layer is lightweight cotton and the lining is acetate satin (which is a pain to work with, but that pattern was too perfectly garish to pass up).

I sewed in the two changes and added cheap plastic boning to stop it folding up as I'm checking the fit. This showed that the back panel was too straight cut over the hips. Once that was fixed I could transfer all those adjustments to the paper pattern.

I used the tweaked pattern to cut the final corset panels. I'm using coutil with a cotton lining, just two layers as I don't need a fancy fabric on the outside, but if you were using another fabric just sew it flat to the coutil in the seam allowance and treat them as one piece.

There are pencil markings all over these pieces, but they don't show up in the photo so well.

Handy tip: when pinning the coutil try to keep the pins in the seam allowances as the tightly woven fabric can end up with visible pin holes.

The link in the previous entry is 100% correct about the adjustments needed for this particular pattern! I cut this first fitting to their suggested size and it's a pretty close match, just needed pinning in two places.

This mockup was made from bull denim, but anything that doesn't stretch will do.

Basic fitting rules:
- Pin it in where it's too loose.
- Let it out where it's too tight.
- Don't be afraid to rip apart tight seam areas and pin in extra fabric if it's more than your seam allowance.
- Don't be tempted to pull on one seam to take in the slack further round, just pin each seam flush.

The golden rule: When you reduce your waist that flesh has to go somewhere (like squeezing a balloon), so don't be surprised if you need to make the hips or bust larger than your standard measurements. If you're getting any bulges around the top or bottom, let that end of the corset out until everything matches again. Interestingly this has the effect of making your waist look even smaller by comparison.

If you don't have any lacing tape (I really want to pick some up with my next order, looks super handy), you need to add an inch to each back panel of the mock-up to account for the two inch lacing gap on a finished corset. I marked the real panel edge and wrote FITTING GAP down the extra material and I still found myself wondering why panel 5 wouldn't match the pattern a few times >.<

I'm using Laughing Moon #100 and starting with the Dore as it's the simpler of the two styles included.

Handy note to anyone using this pattern - The sizes marked on the packaging are relative to the B cup pattern only, for accurate sizes and advice on which cup size to choose from people who've actually made up the pattern see this page: http://trulyvictorian.com/LM100.html

Trimmed up the little tufty ear bits and curled them under with heat and hairspray.
I'm nervous about starting the ponytail, it means cutting so much off :/

All the gesso, all the sanding, all the time!

Finally finishing off Vice for a second outing :D

For tweaks I've made the back of the waistcoat pointier and put a larger elastic loop on one of the sleeves as these were problems last time I wore it.
To finish I used bondaweb to stick the front facings down and the red blocks onto the skirt, simples!

Would like to find better boots and have another go at styling the wig by Expo.

What do I even call this? Medallion? Sporran?!

Whatever it is, after a little maths I built up the dome from layers of 6mm EVA foam. Originally glued it all together with PVA glue to test a theory it would sand better, but then the motorised sander pulled it all apart. Whoops!

Back on track after some contact adhesive I used the Dremel to quickly wear down the excess foam and then the sander to get a nice even finish. Cut the horse shoe out of 3mm EVA and heated it up to curve nicely over the dome before sticking it in place.

First heel done!
Had to take the Dremel to a couple of places, but otherwise going to plan and sands nicely. Now decided to milliput the details in and around the heel hole so more mess to come :D

To build up the back of the heels I'm using milliput as it doesn't need to go in the oven and several people recommended it for being strong enough to survive any knocks.

This is my first time using milliput and I'm loving it! Exactly like working with clay. Currently sculpting each curve separately so it's easier to get them the right proportions and I know I'll be finished before it's too set to work with (I'm pretty slow at sculpting).

I've drawn a template outline to keep checking the sculpting against so there's a chance the two shoes will even be the same, but milliput can be sanded so I'll be making small adjustments that way once it's all dried.

Worked out the paper patterns for my leg plates by measuring off the model and scaling up to my size. It worked out pretty well and I only had to adjust some small bits so I could bend my knee. All the front plates only curve in one direction so super easy patterning, just the calf plate needed some darts adding (taped while the glue dries in the photo).

I've cut the actual plates out of 3mm EVA foam and sanded the tight curves where the craft knife wasn't accurate enough. They are ready for heat shaping, but I'm trying to decide if I'm happy just scoring the edging in to this sheet or to stick another trim layer of 2mm foam on top...I need to do that while they're still flat.

It's starting to look scary now. Sanding is finished, details carved in and the front/back panels cut from craft foam. Having to wait forever for the glue to dry as you can't use anything solvent based on this foam :(

Glass animal eye borrowed from Fatkraken and the broken bead from my first failed earring attempt found a use (backed with foil to catch the light).

If the staff didn't need such a huge ball I'd consider resin casting it, but hollow is best in this case, so I bought a wooden pole and two part acrylic sphere. Using the dremel I drilled a hole in the bottom of the sphere for the pole and any electronics to fit into.

I did a lot of testers on smaller spheres with combinations of sanding and glass paints to get a nice glow, but in the end I've decided to leave it un-sanded and glass paint the inside in layers.
Bonus of this is that the paint can't be scratched off, it'll be protected inside the sphere and the outside will have a perfectly smooth surface.

Things I learnt from the testers:
-Glass paint crazes (bubbles up) if you try to paint another layer on later no matter how long you leave it to dry, so get it right first time. Bubbling is worst on areas of thicker paint.

-Though sanding the acrylic looks rough and cloudy, glass paint fills in the ruts and can make it clear and transparent again (defeating the point), so best to sand inside, paint outside if you want to keep it opaque.

-Glass paint can be cleaned off with white spirit, but this also clouds up the acrylic plastic, damaging the surface, BEWARE. The surfacing effect of glass paint mentioned above can also make this damage transparent again, but that's when you realise there are white spirit fingerprints on the outside too...

One row at a time I removed the curlers and brushed the hair out to where I wanted it to sit.
I've left it a little longer than it needs to be so I have room if I decide to make it curl more. Need to work on the ends a bit more, they're still too straight where they've been cut.

Oh man, shoes with holes in the heels?! I'll have to build up a structure around normal heels...or I could grab this pair off eBay >.>

A lucky find to start me off!

Many curlers, all the hairspray! I sectioned the fringe up into curler sized rows, went crazy with the hairspray and used the hairdryer on low to set it.

Tonight I divided the wig up into the ponytail, ear tufts and fringe before lopping off everything in the fringe section to a more manageable length. Plaited the ponytail up to keep it out of the way as I won't need to work with it for a while.

After much swapping hair around I went with a triangle of hair for the fringe base. Annoyingly the skin top doesn't go as far to the side as I'd like so it stops a bit early. Hoping it won't look so central when it's styled up as there's a lot more hair to one side.

It makes me think of a green haired Katniss XD

I picked a length to hem the skirt and lining, so that's all done now :)
It's a real hobble skirt of a shape. I certainly won't be doing any running in this, tiny steps ladies.

Also added some darts in the back of the shirt to stop it bagging over the top of the skirt.

Luckily I already had some pink lining fabric I could use for the tie. To keep it as easy as possible to wear on the day (and because there's no visible bow tails) I sewed the bow loops in place and I just have to tie it with a 'four in hand' knot so they lay downwards not out to the sides.

Just looked up what that tie knot is called and my goodness there's a lot of ways to knot ties, I've only ever done this one O_O

Turns out I was a little optimistic about how quickly the sander could get through this foam, so I went back to the craft knife for the initial bevelling of the edges. Once it was looking much more like this final shape I tried sanding again :)

It was a pain doing that inward curve on the bottom, getting a flat knife angled in there is really fiddly.

Took a craft knife to the block and have whittled it down to the basic camera shape. It's important to cut off thin slivers at a time rather than being tempted to try for large chunks as you risk ripping the foam or being forced off the guide lines.
Really glad I did this over a bin liner, it makes so many shavings! Next step sanding.

Been musing over the different ways I could make her camera prop and just when I thought I'd decided on one Kat offered me her left over dense foam block. So throw out the ideas, I'm gonna carve it :D

Karen has kindly lent me a glass eye for the creepy robo lense and I've drawn outlines based on the size of that which I can use to template the block.

Made some tiny earrings! Actually managed to mess this up once by using jump rings that were too thick and cracked the beads. Second time's the charm.

Last night I unpicked the sleeves and cuffs from a cheap school shirt, cut some new sleeves two inches longer and sewed it all back together again like nothing happened.
The trials of saving money vs being long limbed XD

It was pretty interesting to see all the little parts in this way and really easy to line up because all the fiddly bits are already pressed into shape.

Browsing the net for preview shots of the movie and the book image kept popping up. Suddenly realised I was wearing the same t-shirt and this cosplay plan was born.

"Cinna does my hair in my simple trademark braid down my back."
"...simple tawny trousers, light green blouse, sturdy brown belt, and thin, hooded black jacket that falls to my thighs."

Need to get the book back from Kat to double check the descriptions, but I've already sourced a few cheap orange backpacks. Aiming for pre-bow Katniss as that would be a bulky pain to carry round and super happy I can carry my stuff in the backpack, what a useful costume.

I didn't finish the rest in time for MinamiCon so I wore the hood down and left off the ears, no problem.
Photo shoot with Kuma and Nert was great fun, though it was mostly messing about on video we still got a few shots :)

Got a list of things I'd like to change now I've seen photos of the whole thing together, as well as finishing the bits still left to do:
- A full circle skirt was too bulky for this design, it's a bit too long and it looks flat standing still
- The top needs altering to fit me, rather than following the default pattern for my size
- Finish the hood and ears
- Glitter the shoes

Had everything wearable in time for Minami, but there's still more work to be done.

I made a place holder front panel for the skirt on the evening before the con as I only have exactly enough grey fabric left to do this once and I was running out of time. I ended up wrapping the string fabric like a scarf on the day, so that needs finishing properly and I'd also like to poof up and shorten the fringe, so I can see!

I might finish the boot covers, but I really like those patterned tights Kat found for us... Should make them and see what it looks like at least :)

Lastly I really want to have her staff for the next outing, so looking into methods for that!

Pointy hem done, slightly longer at the back than the front. Holding off trimming the neckline until the hood cowl is done and I can see what would show.

Found a clear copy of the space symbol online and sized it up to fit before printing the outline onto transfer paper. This stuff is fantastic, can't believe I hadn't used it before. The swirl was a super fiddly design to cut out, those spindles get really thin at the centre, but thankfully nothing tore.

Drew up a paper pattern for the ears, I want to get that cartoon shape with the straight inner and curved outer edge. I don't want them to be flat either, so I'm curving round the inside edge to give the straight line.

Base ears cut from funky foam and heated into shape.

Hood made from the same jersey used on the skirt. Now to work out those ear holes and tabs.

Wooo!

I pinned the outer layer down to the lining and trimmed it off to the same shape around the bottom. Then instead of hemming it up, I sewed them flat together and covered the rough edges with thin bias binding.

The neckline has an irregular scalloped edge, so I found a nice lace trim with flowers and leaves that would give a similar outline and tacked it on top.

The hood was a real pain. I've been messing with patterns for ages, but finally tweaked something that worked! I looked at patterns for historical pointed hoods and jester hats, but couldn't find anything specifically for a two pointed hood.

For the first attempt I just joined two cones down the centre which left the points trying to hang in the same place down the centre back instead of apart to each side.

Sticking with the two cones I pinned them together at various angles until it looked about right (around 45 degrees). My test fabric in the photo didn't need the full length points on, so I used a shortened pattern. Couldn't shake the feeling I was putting pants on my head.

My first attempt was to copy the shape from an old t-shirt to make the tunic, but the new jersey didn't have the same stretch as the old warped t-shirting and it looked really bad when I tried it on!

I then remembered a blouse pattern I'd bought in a sale which is a perfect tunic pattern if you make the front one piece. It's basically a t-shirt with bust and waist darts. Luckily there was enough fabric left over to cut out the new body pieces and the sleeves fitted on the reject tunic fabric. So now I have a comfy tunic, which is inside out and not hemmed yet in the photo.

The waistcoat and skirt are mostly done, just need to hem the skirt to length.
Currently this costume hangs on finding a blouse and I'm actually having real trouble finding one that fits the part for a reasonable price. I really don't want to make a blouse when it should be a high street work staple! Cheap blouses at the moment seem to be collarless, patterned or too short in the arms :(

I hand sewed a section of fringe from Kat's Lim wig leftovers into the purple curly wig I'd bought, they fit pretty neatly thanks to the layout of the base wig wefts. I didn't even have to remove any purple from the front, it's bulking out the new fringe.

Just need to trim it up to a length I can see through.

I was always planning to peel the shredded jersey off the net backing, but Kat suggested shredding the backing to get a two tone look. I tried using a craft knife but the net was so stretchy it was actually easier and cleaner to use scissors in the end.
I love the effect, but now I'm not sure which way up matches best - lighter or darker topside?

Once the base was finished I could make the outer layer of the top to fit.
The bust is made of the same fabric as the skirt double layered over plain black cotton to stabilise it. The body is a washed satin that Kat has made her Lim dress from, we thought it would be nice to link the two costumes with little similarities. Sadly creases stay as marks in this fabric, should come with a warning to only ever store on a roll.

In the pic the straps aren't secured yet, I need to fix them in place and then trim up the bottom to match the hemline of the lining underneath. May have to tack the top down to the lining along the seams to keep everything lying neatly.

Seal off the boning channels by sewing a line round the top and bottom of the corset (with all the bones inserted).

Then it's time to finish it off with bias binding. I used scraps I had left over for this so the top is white and the bottom cream. Be careful not to hit any boning while sewing this down, if in doubt hand crank the machine past the bones.

So Cesia failed to make it to Aya (as did all planned costumes) as the organisation for the event itself took priority. Now over 6 months later it's time to continue, don't worry I still love you Cesia :D

Moving on from the original mockup I've made the interfaced and boned lining for the top with hook and eye fastening up the back. In the picture I've marked off where the bottom hemline will be and ironed it in. Because the lining and top fabrics are very different types I think with this pointed front shape it will be best to hem this now, trim it off and tack the top layer down to it later, rather than sewing the two layers together top and bottom and turning inside out.

I also need to tweak the side seams a little as shortening the bodice has revealed that the waist was a little big, though it sat nicely on the hips when it was longer.

I ordered Minky fabric for Jade's dog ears as all the dogs I've known with pointy ears have had really short ear fur. I'm going to use that for the main shape and couple it up with a paff of long fur on the inside.
This stuff is so soft! I may just roll up in it and forget about cosplay forever...

Bought from http://minkyfabrics.co.uk/ and they were incredibly quick.

I cut the waistcoat and skirt out of some fabric already cut for a Roy Mustang jacket that never happened. Luckily I *really* oversized stuff 'just in case' back then! There was a moment where I wasn't sure it was possible, but Kat and her tetris powers came to the rescue!

I already own one skirt pattern that's an A-line style, so I folded the flared sides in to make it a straight skirt and will adjust it to a pencil fit when it's sewn.

For the waistcoat I used the pattern I picked up for Vice; shortening it to just below the waistline and raising the neckline.

I'm still a bit shocked there was enough fabric :D

Once you're happy with the fit so far it's time to start adding boning to the corset.

Bones sit down the seams and in between too on the large enough panels. Mark out on the panels where these extra bones will sit bearing in mind the width of the bones you're using.

I used boning tape for all of this, but you can sew your own channels with the seam allowance over the seams and in a double layer corset you can also make channels by sewing the body to the lining.

Line up the tape carefully as this stitching will show on the outside. You can pin it in place and sew from the outside to be sure, but I just worked from the inside as I won't be wearing this on show (it still turned out fairly neat).

These bones will pin down the floating waist tape, make sure it isn't pulled tighter than the fabric as it's there to stop the waist stretching out, not dig into you!

I added all the front panel boning and then all the between seam bones for the rest, leaving the side and back seams uncovered so I could make last second tweaks to the fit. As it turned out it was only now with the bones in place that the extreme shape of the waist reduction pushing out my hips showed up and I undid an inch or so of waist reduction, but couldn't release anymore having trimmed the seam allowance already. I had to unpick those in between bones to let out the waist tape, but it certainly saved me some time leaving the seam bones off until sure.

Lesson of the day? Fit with some bones in place before trimming seam allowances!

After sewing the rest of the panels together I added the waist reduction. You need to spread this evenly around the corset, so divide the desired reduction by double the number of seams (not counting the centre front and back) to get the measurement to take off each panel. It's doubled because you're reducing per panel and there are two of those to each seam. I would avoid changing the first front panel seam too if you want the front to be straight(I ended up putting it back as it was on mine).

Because there are so many seams in a corset it turns out to be a very tiny amount you're removing from each panel. Standard corset reduction is up to 4" and though some people squish more easily than others going further than that will probably be uncomfortable if you're not used to wearing corsets. If you do wear them often you likely know exactly what reduction you want already.

E.g. 4" reduction across 10 seams = 4/(10*2) = 0.2"
That's less than a quarter inch off each panel! Use a gentle curved line from this new reduced point back to the original edges to get your new pattern (see picture).

I found a soft dark grey jersey to use for the skirt and hood. They had exactly the amount I needed left on the roll, which makes this fabric of destiny!

Jade: Combine fabric of destiny with circle skirt.

As with the busk posts I used an awl to make the holes for the rivets so they won't work lose when laced up.
Then it was on to the rivet tool to insert them (this got really sore for my hands so I had to take a few breaks).

It's important to use rivets with washers for corsets as they spread the grip of the rivet over a wider area and make it less likely to pop out under the strain of the lacing.

Always remember to pop the bones in down either side of the rivets when you're trying on the corset to test the fit, they need this support.

To make sure the busk lines up lay both panels together and mark where the inside of each hook lies over the other side.

We need to make holes in the coutil but cutting can lead to problems when the fabric is under tension, as cut threads will unravel over time. The solution is to use an awl, which is a long tapered metal spike, to prise the threads apart without breaking them and weakening the fabric. This is the first time I've used an awl before and they are fantastic little tools!

Carefully work the awl through the fabric where marked and take your time as pushing through too fast can snap threads. Once the hole is big enough, pop the busk post through and smooth the fabric out. If the hole isn't quite big enough just pop the awl back through and work it a bit larger.

Super exact boning channels :D
I just followed the instructions and they've come out perfectly. Do feed some boning through the channels afterwards to double check it all fits.

As a single layer corset this is done with facings, if it was double layer you'd be sewing the lining to the body to get the busk and lacing channels.

I found some sunglasses on ASOS that looked perfect for Jade, but believe it or not they were too big (if such a thing can exist)!
Ebay then turned up these Potter-tastic 2" round glasses from Korea which are perfect. Must remember to pop out the lenses, or the photographer will cameo in every photo XD

To make sure I was sewing the busk in accurately I drew around the hooks onto the facing. I could then sew the seam up between each hook knowing it would fit perfectly.
When sewing to secure the busk in place, using a zipper foot will allow you to get much closer, just be careful you don't sew onto the steel and snap a needle.

Now we need to copy the adjustments for cutting again. You can mark the adjusted seams on your mockup clearly and take it apart again to use as a pattern itself, but I chose to leave it in one piece and copy the changes onto the original paper pattern. This way if I want to make another later I can try on the old mockup and check it still fits without having to sew it all again.

I trimmed down the smaller areas and wrote notes on the paper where it needed to be extended. You could stick on extra paper, but when adjustments are spread over so many seams it's not that big a change per panel.

At this point you can make the waist reduction on your mockup as follows and check the fit for that too, but this is so much easier with a busk and lacing in place. Feel free to add temporary lacing tape and a busk to the mockup to get a second mockup fitting, but as my corset will be hidden under clothes I don't mind if there's some stitch marks from making adjustments on the final coutil and no adjustments will be greater than the seam allowance now so I'm leaving this for a first coutil fitting.

Also having finished I now don't recommend much waist reduction on a short hipped style corset like this. Stick to your actual size or an inch off but more than that and you'll need to lengthen the corset at the sides so it controls more over the hips (unless you're after a very extreme style).

With the mockup done I can order all the supplies for the actual corset! I went to http://www.venacavadesign.co.uk/ who I've always found simple to deal with.

The cheapest way to do this is to buy in bulk, but I don't see myself making many of these so I just bought enough for this one corset. I spent £40 (inc delivery), but the actual corset will have cost less as I had to buy a metre of coutil which is enough for several corsets and the eyelets come in a pack of 50 when you only need 22. Little things like this will make the next one cheaper or you could team up with a friend who's making a corset and share supplies.
I will certainly be taking apart my old shop bought corsets for the busk and bones if I make another now I have all this coutil (left them this time as back up if I failed at making this one).

- Get coutil for the structural layer, you can put whatever fabric you want over the top, but to cope with the tension and to last you need coutil, it's designed for corsets, they're its purpose in life XD
There are cheaper ones than I bought, but I paid extra for the strongest, smallest weave.

- If you adjusted the length of the corset remember to measure off the new lengths of boning you'll need, otherwise you can just get the lengths listed on the pattern instructions.

- Be sure to get rivets with washers, these spread the grip of the rivet across a larger surface area so they don't work free of the fabric under the pull of the lacing.

- Use steel boning for a tension bearing corset. Straight steel for the back panel around the lacing rivets to keep them in line and spirals for two way curves (as they bend sideways too). I'm not sure there are any complex curves on this underbust pattern so you could use straight steel for the whole lot, but spirals are more comfortable.

I also bought the boning pre-cut and tipped as there was very little difference in price compared to the effort of cutting and tipping them myself, so that's another saver option.

In my case it was easy to see that some places were pulled tight while others at the same level were loose, so it was a matter of letting out the tight areas until they sat flush and taking in any loose ones. If you're going to be reducing the waist make especially sure the bottom of the corset isn't tight as that waist flesh has to go somewhere.

I had to let the seams out at the back top and bottom to fit the curve of my back and take them in across the front to get back to the same measurement. The picture shows an example of where I've unpicked the old seam (pink) and sewn a new seam further out (green).

I took half an inch off the top of the front panel as I didn't like how high the busk came up, you may also want to use plastic boning in the front panels to check it's not going to be poking you in the bust at any point. Most importantly check that when you sit down the bottom of the front panel isn't poking you in the crotch, otherwise shorten that too. There is no seam allowance on the top and bottom edges, it just gets covered with bias so that's how long it's going to be.

It's totally worth taking the time to unpick seams and sew them back up for this, don't just rely on pins as you need the tension even along the whole seam to get a good fit. Getting it right now saves time and materials later.

I sewed the whole lot together including the centre front seam, then very quickly realised it was really hard to pin up the back by myself! Unpicked the front and sewed the back seam instead so I could pin up the front each time, much easier.
If I do this again I think I'll put pieces of plastic boning down the front seam as it gets a bit tatty when you're constantly pinching it back together after altering. A strip of boning would spread the force and make it easier to line up to pin.

Under bust corsets are much easier to fit than a full over bust so it wasn't too hard to adjust. If you've ever used a store bought tailors dummy you'll know the right measurements don't always mean the right fit, so I checked the waist of the mockup had come out the expected length and used that as my set point. Anything above or below the waist could be adjusted but that point would stay the same.

I normally pin patterns down and cut straight around them, but when you're dealing with as many panels as a corset has, being tiny measurements out per panel can make a big difference in the final corset measurements. Being 2mm out every time would add an inch!

Time to be pernickety! This time I drew around each piece to make sure I was always cutting exactly on the pattern line. Keep your pencil/chalk/note-taker-of-choice nice and sharp so you can be precise. The more time you put into the prep stages, the easier the final thing will be (and less chance of messing up).

The pattern recommends making the first fitting to your exact shape and only adding any waist reduction afterwards to get a more comfortable fit. Be sure to take your waist measurement at the narrowest point below your ribs and your hip measurement at the widest point (not where low rise trousers sit).
I had to cut the pieces to different sizes from waist to hip to get my measurements, which I'm used to doing (just gradually blend between the lines).

I nearly messed up the fitting gap as I added two inches to both back panels instead of between them (it was so big)! This extra fabric is so you can close your mockup without laces, while the finished corset will have a gap across the back, so there's a bit of room to adjust it.

Word of advice; label every piece! Under bust corset pieces are all so similar even upside down, the amount of times I nearly got it wrong even with the markings!!

-As a point of interest it seems a lot of 1900s corsets weren't waist reducing, they were just worn to give a smooth sillouette under clothes rather than re-shaping the wearer, but people were also a lot smaller in general.

I've bought an under bust corset pattern (#113) from Laughing Moon Mercantile to make this. The instructions seem really straight forward, but I've also scoured every walkthrough and FAQ I can find online to get a good start. I get the feeling it's not so much the tasks themselves, but doing them neatly that's the challenge here.

First step is to make a mock up so no good fabric gets wasted. I've got some Bull Denim to make mine from, you can use any non-stretch fabric you have spare, but this is one of the easiest to fit with as it doesn't warp or wrinkle up easily which would make fitting it a pain in the backside.

More pages have been released and now there's lots of references for Jade's new duds! Black and dark grey for certain :D

....ruby slippers....RUBY SLIPPERS (my house is going to be covered in glitter).

I had a rummage through my wig pile and found my old Juclecia wig, which has a wide band of skin top at the front. I did a rubbish job cutting the fringe back then, but as Jade wears her parting on the opposite side I can cover up the mauling and get some more use out of it!

Using a hairdryer turned on low I heat-set the hair to lie the other way in small sections at a time until the parting was right at the edge of the skin top. Really happy with how it's turned out, like a completely new wig.
Was wondering whether it's worth putting some messy layers in so it's more like Jade's hair, but I think I'll leave it as it'll be hidden by the hood most of the time.

gardenGnostic [GG]: im going to make some cozy pajamas!! :)

gardenGnostic [GG]: i think theyre supposed to be completely black, but then it can be hard to see all the details and thats kinda sad :( so im going to go with the more basic reference and make the skirt a really dark grey instead, yay!!

I got Yosuke out again for a Persona meet at the Expo and took the chance to upgrade his trousers. I needed some that would match the polyester jacket fabric and found a pair for a barginous £10 in New Look.

I decided to hand sew the white lines down the leg seams as my machine wouldn't put the defining gap in between each stitch to keep them distinct. Embroidery thread had the best thickness to match the jacket stitching and I used a ball point embroidery needle, which was so much nicer than the usual stabbing my fingers to pieces hand sewing!

At first it was really hard to keep the stitches straight, they always went just that little bit wonky. Then I realised that the stitches will line up along the needle, so the more you thread on in one go, the straighter they'll be. In the photo I've got a needles length of stitches ready to pull through, it made it a lot faster going too.

Waistcoat is finished! It was a pain to press out the seams as this fabric can only take a lower heat from the iron, but it's fairly flat. I used black cotton for the back lining panels where I'd run out of red and it looks fine. Annoyingly the neckline is much lower than the pattern pictures lead me to belive (this is why I usually make mockups of new patterns), which has shifted the diamond cut-out and the bottom hem further down too. I've only got a few days left and it's only a fun costume so I won't lose sleep over it :)

The dress now has sleeves and I've sewn the red elastic wrist loops into the seam so I can't forget them on the day. I used prym pearl effect poppers for the dress buttons and coloured them with red glass paint. On the waistcoat I've used open-back poppers so I can sew the black buttons over the top. I love rivet tool poppers so much <3

Gave the wig another touch up with permanent markers just to make sure I hadn't missed anywhere, but it's so much harder to see the colour difference under bulb lights rather than daylight (booo, dark winter evenings).

So Expo is this weekend, but I have tomorrow off work and every evening to get it done.

I now have the base dress with no sleeves or fastenings. Odangochan's pattern was a great help to work from and I combined it with the vertical darts from my old blouse and added more of a flare to the skirt by making it a half circle (I like the idea of it being able to fan out).

My machine had a lot of trouble with this stretch fabric when usually it copes with anything. After some internet digging I had to get some fine ball-point needles, some synthetic thread, whip the tension right down and use small stitches before it would behave. At least now I have a range of needles for future use.

Waistcoat is underway; by the power of umeshu and MLP for background noise I used NewLook 6914 and my left over Dahna fabric which just ran out before the back lining panels, but that's a hidden bit that can be any fabric and doesn't even have to be red.

Must not forget the black buttons!

Jersey aquired! Went with a micro jersey in the end, it's got a much tighter knit and drapes really well. It's also fairly crease-proof which is essential when I'm stuffing it in a bag for Expo.

I've sketched up the sort of pattern I'm going to use for the dress based on a blouse I own that fits nicely. Odangochan has also offered to lend me the pattern she altered for Mature, so I think I'll end up with a combination of the two.

Done the bulk of wig colouring with permanent markers, I think I've got most of it and with the base being a similar colour it blends in well at the roots. There's something therapeutic about brushing a wig with pens, or that could be the solvents, who knows.

I'm tag teaming Vice in instead of Mai for October Expo, so first stop was the cupboard of squirreling. Found a few types of red fabric I could use for the waistcoat, but most importantly a wig for Vice!

Originally bought for Xianghua (but turned out to be a bit short), it's a good style for Vice if I trim the fringe up. The colour is too light, so my plan is to grab a couple of permanent markers in a darker brown/red and colour in low-lights to bring the overall colour down. As it's only a short wig and a similar colour already I don't think it warrants the full on dying treatment.

Picking up some black cotton jersey at the weekend or maybe viscose jersey.

I finished Una for the May Expo 2011 and it was such a comfortable and fun costume!

Now I've worn it out once I think there are some improvements I can do whilst I wait for the people I've been badgering to make their Stardust costumes (would love to have a group one day) :3

Firstly I want to try dying the dress to a darker shade. I think mixing a deeper blue with the green I have left is the way to go as the turquoise was too light a base colour despite having the right mix of blue/green. Thankfully I have enough off-cuts left to do proper testers of how it will take over the current dye.

Secondly look at that straight fronted silhouette, I now think she's wearing a corset underneath the dress, so I'm going to give that a go next time. She definitely has one in her other costume (which has many references out there), so it's highly likely to be the case here too.

Back on the skirt I used inch wide elastic as the waistband for easy gathering. Stretching the elastic I sewed on the patterned top layer and then the plain base layer.

Once it was all anchored I made the corners pointier by cutting curves into the straight edges before bias binding the whole lot. I've found the tiniest petticoat on eBay to poof it out and I'm so happy with how smart the bias looks!

The sleeves and linings are joined and pressed. Annoyingly I changed my hem size to suit the frills and this means my half circles to sit in the sleeve split don't fit anymore. I'll have to do another set (argh, circular rolled hems are a pain).

Despite that I like how they're turning out. I've got white silicone tape to put in the top so they grip my arm and some really pretty silver/black buttons for the cuffs.

The sleeve linings are plain cotton with the crepe frills gathered onto the end using my overlocker's gathering attachment. These are the times I appreciate my rolled hem foot as it makes edging long strips like these so neat and much quicker!

My ref image contains two different designs for the sleeve frills and I spent a long time deciding which I preferred. One falls long in the split like an under sleeve, the other continues the short frills up the forearm. I'm not keen on the exposed arm look when you don't have your arms bent, so I'm going to insert a half circle of crepe fabric in the sleeve split to fill that gap.

I used the sleeves from the same jacket pattern I used for Luise with that nice flared shape.

The base sleeve is a pretty stretch-less stretch suiting. I needed something plain to contrast with the patterned black fabric without matching the soft crepe of the frills.

Laying the black edging over the top as applique seemed the best approach, but I made the mistake of cutting the shape before ironing on the interfacing. Flimsy fabric like this warps like crazy and when I finally pinned it down they didn't quite match anymore, so I had to tweak some seams. I've ended up with a parallel trim instead of tapered, next time fabric, next time!

It would seem drop pendants aren't too popular. I tried searching for 'tear drop', 'rain drop', 'pear drop', 'droplet', and only found one seller with anything bigger than a pea! Thankfully one seller was all I needed and I got these lovely clear beads with settings too.

I decided to take the simple route and nail varnish the back as it's only slightly rounded and will generally lie flat all the time, plus I'd found this lovely shimmery red varnish which I liked more than the idea of red resin.

It gives a really nice finish as the colour fills the shape from any angle because of the way light is bent in the clear bead and lots of light gets in from the front with the nice shiny surface untouched.

The handkerchief skirt pattern is a big square with a circle cut out of the centre (it's folded to a quarter in the picture). I've made the circle double my waist size so I can gather it to the waistband as a much fuller skirt and there are two of these square layers which I offset to get 8 spikes all the way round. The top layer is patterned, the bottom one plain (I like how the contrast breaks up all the fabric).

Currently looking at short petticoats on eBay to poof it up, but I could also add boning down the undeside of each corner spike to keep them up. I'll wait untill I've seen it with the petticoat to decide.

I had lots of beads left over from my forest ballgown in just the various sizes needed. I think the green will go nicely with the purple wig without blending in and being lost from view. I already had a pack of earring hooks and I used some thin jewellery wire to string them all together.

I wanted some props to play with but I couldn't find a real glass snowdrop or fake wildflowers anywhere! In the end I turned to funky foam and used the hairdryer to heat it up and stretch a curve into the petals and stem. I had to keep it in a jewellery box to stop it getting squished on the day :)

I used a load of ball chains linked together for the magic chain, but it was a bit fine so you can't see it in many photos.

I dug through my pattern box and decided that for this top I could alter my Queen Serenity pattern which conveniently has an underbust seam already.
The photo is my mockup where I've chopped it from a dress to a top, lowered the under-bust seam to be less of a point and added the plunge neckline. Next step is to draft the straps and then I can cut the final fabric.

I have been looking around for anything like the netting round her neck with little success. There were lots of laces, but all with very regular repeating patterns or just too busy, nothing with that stringy look.

I was planning to give Shepards Bush one last rummage this weekend and failing that knot knitting wool (urgh please no). Then today on a desperate hope I typed every word I could think of into google and ebay and lo, 'shredded' was the winner as this fabric popped up. Sure there's the regular joining pieces, but it's got that stringy look and it's viscose so I could cut a few of the joins out and it won't fray, maybe tangle the odd one to make it more irregular too.

I'll see how dark the grey is and if it goes with the other fabrics. If not I'll dye it black.

I've been looking at the dress design and decided that the best way to make this work will be to split it as a double layered handkerchief style skirt that fastens at the front and a bodice that laces up the back with a panel hanging off the front over the skirt. I may need to add a couple of poppers round the outside of the waistband to hold the top in line with the skirt.

I scoured ebay for a nice curly (or curlable) wig, the big catch being I have to splice a different colour fringe on, so I wanted to avoid point top styles and full skin tops. This turned up perfect wigs in every colour but purple and in the end I went with gut instinct on a cheap wig that didn't quite look point top. When it arrived I found it was actually a nicely parted skin top up to the fringe which was normal wefting in forward facing rows, absolutely perfect!

Kat has ordered two wigs to make Lims choppy hair with long plaits, so the plan is for me to take the fringe from the one she's cutting up. It's a darker pink/red than the ref, but I think it will look fine with this vibrant purple.

The cast gets so many different hair colours I could probably do whatever I liked, but here's the ref I used for my choice anyway :)

A trip to Shepherds Bush turned up these two beautiful fabrics. I wasn't sure which I liked more, so I bought both and I'm now thinking that I might use the black for the main dress and the red for the front panel which is lighter in the refs.

The black fabric is a very fine cotton with a subtle pattern, it's too thin to work on it's own and hold those spikes, so I plan to layer it over cheap plain black cotton. The red is two tone with sheen that's very thick and heavy, but drapes like silk. As you can see in the picture (top without flash, bottom with flash) the look changes quite a bit on the camera. The other option could be a grey washed satin Delusional is using for Lim which would match us up a bit more.

I don't have to decide just yet, thankfully. I'm going to mock the dress up in cheap cotton first so I don't waste any of the good stuff.

I used a separate strip of elastic tape in the skirt back because the more fabric you load on, the less retractable it becomes. Then I could sew the top to the bottom as a normal seam just inside the elastic which was pulled taught.

The ribbon wrapped round her waist is raised on one side through a small loop of thread. Luckily I had some assorted embroidery threads with a turquoise, which I used to put a belt loop on one side. If I wear this again I think I'll put in another loop for the lower ribbon as moved upwards to overlap with it all being one length wrapped round. The other option would be to make the upper ribbon separate to the lower one so the tensions can be different.

And the gathering continues...

I used the pulling two threads method to gather the skirts along the front half and then join them to the top front.
The back is still separate; the next step will be joining it using the elastic in the waistband, so I can't just gather it like the front. I may need to use some pleats and light gathers as the elastic doesn't gather as much fabric as the threads method at it's tightest (elastic - 2.3x reduction, threads - 5x reduction).

This is the kind of thing I usually spend ages thinking about before I attempt it (I take way too long on costumes), but there's only a few days left if I want to wear this to Expo.

I added some straps to the top and used my overlocker gathering attachment to easily add the frills onto the front panels.

I should have used a stay stitch to hold the panel shape while I did this (hindsight is a wonderful thing). The whole front is cut diagonally (on the bias) and it stretched into a curve as I added the frills, thankfully because the front is gathered I can even it out, but I would have been starting again if it was a flat top!

The frills were torn off the fabric sheet rather than cut to get that fluffy frayed edging. From what I can see in the references the top is folded into the waist, rather than gathered, which will stop the waist seam getting too bulky. I've sewn the front down permanently so it will always sit nicely and the elasticated waist at the back will let me get it on and off.

There is so much gathering on this dress!

For the gathers at the shoulders I needed much tighter gathers than my overlocker can do. I sewed two parallel rows of long stitches along the seam allowance then pulling on the two ends on one side of the fabric gathers the fabric up. Having two rows keeps the gathers straight making it easier to get a neat appearance when you sew the seam together.

For the back I used elastic tape so I wont have to use any zips or fastenings to get the dress on. It makes nice gathers, but can be tricky to keep the tape stretched out as tight as it can go whilst sewing it down to the fabric (make sure the needle is down so nothing shifts if you need to let go midway).

The back can bag a little, but I'm pretty sure the skirts are going to be heavy, so that should pull it flat.

The down side to journals is seeing just how long ago the last update really was! Has it really been so long?

Over the last few weeks I have done more on this. I drafted a wrap top pattern from an old Readers Digest sewing book (yay freebies) and made a mock up out of cheap cotton to see where I'd need to change it for Una. I extended the back panel as it's gathered all the way across and lowered the front panel to gather into straps rather than join at the shoulder.

Quite a bit of trial and error, but I'm happy with the way it's going so far.

Currently trying to decide if it's worth buying the blue piano shawl she sometimes wears. Actually typing this I can't remember it appearing in the film, only the promo shots...maybe not worth it.

With the belts done I just had to sew the hood to the jacket collar, super easy!

For the last few touches I picked up her striped tights, hiking socks and some blue teardrop earrings. Then I glued a hair clip to each end of the hairband so I could just clip it into the wig (elastic round the back of the head tends to pull my wigs off).

I think I need to find a Hanpan if I wear it again :3

I like using suede for non-functional belts like these as it keeps them light so they don't pull on the costume.

One side of the suede was joined to heavy interfacing and then turned inside out into a long tube. After ironing the tube flat I used rivets to secure the buckle on one end and a neat line of holes on the other.

With the jacket belt I was planning to sew it to the jacket so it would just stay in place at all times. When I tried to do this I found the hem of the jacket plus the belt was too thick to go under my sewing machine! Blessing in disguise, I then had to make belt loops out of some matching denim fabric which look so much better than a magical floating belt. I just used a small safety pin at the buckle to make sure it didn't slip out =)

After tweaking the line of the black strip (urgh unpicking), I decided to use rivets to hold the ribbon lacing.
I had been thinking of sewing the ribbon in or threading it through holes under the yellow hem, but the flap didn't end up big enough. I think the rivets look really neat.

I also got really annoyed that the hem was a bit wibbly, but then the rivets warped the edge anyway, so I shouldn't have worried XD

Top Tip: Once the ribbon was evenly in place with no twists (not too tight or slack) I pressed it with an iron. Because this lacing is purely for decoration with no tension this makes it less likely to unlace itself or bag out in one section so it's always nicely flat and even.

I have an old A-line skirt pattern which I based this on.
Thankfully I didn't shorten the pieces to the miniskirt length before sewing as it's designed to fit right up to your waist (80s style)! I had to take a lot off the top to get it sitting more on my hips which shortened it up a lot.

Once I'd got a good fit, I could put the zip in, add a waistband facing and hem up the bottom.

Kat lent me some light blue denim for the jacket, but when I popped home I found the perfect style jacket which I'm going to use instead. It's darker than I'd like, but it's just a casual costume and the colour changes between refs constantly anyway =)

I made the red hood to add on and covered some buckram in the same fabric for the hairband. Handy stretchy fabric meant I could just wrap it round and glue to the underside of the buckram!

I like minimising layers so I decided to make the black top just a strip sewn into the front of the yellow top. This also stops the lacing being pulled out of position, so it will always be even.

I bought a yellow t-shirt and sacrificed an old strappy top for the black stripe which was sewn to the inside before cutting the yellow top open down the middle. I did it this way so I didn't accidentally change the shape or size of the t-shirt. Then I could fold the excess under to make a hemmed edge.

So Wild Arms got a re-make and with it came new character designs. Having only played the original game my allegiance lies with the retro, but there are some parts of the new design that look much nicer so I'm going to merge them a bit.

I'm keeping to the original with the green skirt, strawberry blonde hair and using a book rather than a staff, but I'm going to stick with the new designs removal of unnecessary flaps - like all the collars and the skirt...things. I think they make it look far too busy with the hood there too.

I just bought a whole mixed set of hair clips to get one that matches my cosplay ref. The things we do for this hobby!

I think I already have some earrings that will do as I can't find a single shot on the DVD that gives a clear picture of hers. I can just make out something dangly and turquoise catching the light though.

This is the skirt portion of the dress done, it's a 4m tube that will be gathered and pleated at the waist.

The trim didn't seem to have a hem in the pictures, so I used a double thickness folded at the bottom (pretty handy as the trim is flimsier than the main fabric I used and this bulks it up).

When I dyed the embroidered fabric I threw in some plain white cottons for the trim, but they both took the dye to completely different shades, so I had to hunt round the market for anything that matched and came back with this plain soft cotton. The camera flash makes it seem more vivid, but in person they're not so different.

I managed to find a really lovely wig with lose curls on eBay, nearly went for styling my own as all the perfect ones were ~£100 lace fronts, then this one popped up for £20!

Petticoat complete!

I am so in love with my rolled hem foot and the gathering attachment on my overlocker. They saved so much time hemming and attaching all that ruffling <3
It was my first time trying out the gathering settings and it went really well, just have to feed the fabric really carefully through the machine as it gathers the lower piece of fabric, which can get caught up under the top piece and hang around by the needles.

The petticoat should stop the dress looking flat and thin; before I noticed it I had thought the dress hung like a really full skirt, now I know why. There are also little holes in the embroidered fabric for the dress so I needed to put something underneath anyway XD

I've got to the stage where I'm watching the DVD with the pause button at the ready. Not only the petticoat, but she has earrings, black suede sandals and a little flower clip in her hair!! Costume designers you are so subtle, I thought this was a simple one!

Hunting for references I stumbled across this one which shows a super petticoat!

Luckily I'd bought a load of 99p cotton to use for mockups, lining and odd job fabric. My petticoat is a circle skirt of four pieces (took 3m of fabric) cut slightly longer at the back to account for my big bum. I made 12m of ruffles before running out of fabric, but I'm aiming to have about 21m+. They look really tightly gathered in the pic so I want at least three times longer than the hem circumference. I'm going to put a drawstring in the waist rather than elastic, so I can position it at whatever height looks best under the dress.

So the battik dye needs a sealer applied or it washes out almost instantly...

The dye pooled into gathered areas and only lightly touched others, plus even the tiniest of droplets on the fabric instantly formed a tye dye ring as there's loads of excess dye. This was so frustrating, I'd found the perfect colour and it's completely impractical to use on large amounts of fabric (unless you want very pale shades or are after that uneaven battik look).

Backup plan time, I turned to Dylon and got a turquoise that almost matched and their amazon green to make it a little less blue and hopefully darken it at the same time.
The battik dye washed out without any problems leaving everything a pale turquoise and then I stuck it in the washing machine with the dylon colours mixed to a ratio I'd tested.

It's come out lighter than I wanted due to the fabric content (bah they said it was 100% cotton, liars), but it's the right tone so I'm fairly happy with it. Annoyingly the genuine cotton trim fabric has taken the dye better than the dress fabric so it's a much richer colour.

I am now a SMURF! I used gloves whilst dying and then took them off to tidy up...all the dye >.<

So yeah, I did some testers with the actual fabric and tried one neat, a bit watered down and a very watered down version. The neat one was the winner (adding water pushes it into neon colours). I then tested a bit with embroidery on. It looks like the while the fabric is cotton, but the thread is synthetic and doesn't hold the dye, so I may end up with silver patterns instead of darker turquoise. I'd love to have it perfect, but to be honest this is probably the closest I can get it and in silver they might show up more in photos, which would make it worth spending so long looking for the right fabric!

No, I'm not going to draw over all the threads in thin marker pen :p

The plain skirt trim is now drying alongside the dress fabric which I've scrunched up to keep it's crinkly effect when it dries.

All the bias binding is done! I hate doing inward corners, they're so much hassle, but when I was checking the internet for better methods I found a foolproof way of doing outward corners. I could get them neat before, but it took twice as long and was really fiddly, this is perfect!

See bottom of page, works like a charm:
http://www.isew.co.uk/sewing_techniques/bias_binding-c-00027.htm

Put the zip into the skirt, added the waistband and quickly made some socks with the black line drawn in pen near the top. I glued them to some hold up stockings on the day which worked really well.

I wasn't sure if I'd do these, but we popped into a TKMax looking for Dez trousers and they happened to have a pair in the right style! The Warhammer paint made a return to completely cover them and do the little rainbow stripes on the side. It scratches off the lenses easily if you go wrong too :D

Around this time Pete pointed out that he wears a red collared t-shirt under the jacket. I'd been blissfully unaware, but I can't let this sort of thing go, so I went out hunting. In the end I bought a white v-neck and fabric painted the collar red.

Before starting I covered my wig head in cling-film and got some marigold gloves. This stuff is messy and will colour anything and everything!

I poured one plastic cup of surgical spirit (bog standard pure cheap stuff, don't want added oils or fancies) into a spray bottle and then added my inks to a total of 8 full droppers in the ratio I'd worked out earlier. Then it's just a matter of working through the wig one row of wefts at a time from the bottom to the front. I used 2 cups to completely finish my short wig, but I got the ink slightly different on the second try so the top is lighter than the back...not obvious, but I prefer the back colour.

Leave it to dry. The walkthrough said 8 hours roughly, I left mine 24 hours because I remembered it wrong... as long as it's completely dry it's fine :3 You can brush it through now to get rid of any crispy feel from excess ink.

Then you can wash it with cold/lightly warm water and shampoo (remember hot water is used to change wig styles because it warps the strands, really hot will damage it). No ink will come out as it would when you dye real hair, this is purely done to tone down the smell. Once it's dry brush it again and enjoy :D

The people in the walkthrough don't seem to have trouble with the dye rubbing off on clothes, mine did a little on the jacket collar, but it wasn't much and it washed off afterwards with stain remover.

Wonderful sleeve stays!
The picture is a before and after; I sewed a length of elastic between the shoulder seam at the top and the gathered seam at the bottom of the puff sleeve to stop it drooping. You can use fabric strips or a whole sleeve lining too, but I had the white elastic lying around so it was quicker to put in and wouldn't show though.

Because I felt like a massive cheat not having made the clothes I thought this was the perfect time to try something new with the extra time.

Rather than buying a new wig, Kat had a blonde one in Yosuke's style that was going free, so I read up on wig dying!
http://www.cosplay.com/showthread.php?t=57484

I stuck to the original posters method pretty closely, but took the replies into account. Type of ink, quality of wig and original colour of wig are the factors which will affect the final result, so I stuck with the FW ink brand they used to keep the odds good. Cass Art seem to think the best place for tiny similar bottles is the bottom shelf in a dark corner, so after a long time practically laid on the shop floor I came away with two browns and an orange to mix.

You get way more ink than you use in these bottles, so I spent some time mixing up my three colours in a glass to find a good ratio before trying the real thing. I watered it down to check the final colour (remember it'll be much darker as neat ink).

After talking to lots of people and doing some internet hunting, I found the most similar headphones I could get would be Philips SHP 2500. Staked out eBay for a bit and got mine for a tenner!

I stole Jonny's Warhammer paints to mod the headphones because they're so good for painting plastic :3
One side painted perfectly, but the other kept gunking up into brush tracks for no reason, so I masking taped it up into a plastic bag leaving only the circle exposed and used spray primer on that side (like I should have done for both sides in the first place). The paint went over the primer smoothly after that :)

Managed to get hold of more fabric, so full speed ahead! I have so much slightly different white fabric now...

I added the black stripes as applique before joining them to the gathered upper sleeve.
I made the hair tie, even though you probably won't ever see it, but I know it's there :3 I was trying to save time, so it's two layers rather than a real folded tie with lining.

After a lot of pinning and marking I eventually jumped in and cut the top skirt to it's slanted shape. With the whole thing trimmed in gold bias it looks really neat! Pleased with the ruffles, the bias has stiffened up the edges so they stick out.

This is the best gold bias I've ever found and I've been told it's discontinued, so once this is gone, no more :( Unless some shop has a hidden stash. Fingers crossed another brand makes it.

Applique, poofy sleeves and collar are now done, but I didn't buy enough of the white suiting! I'm going to get it as close to finished as possible so I can just add on the lower sleeves last. There's a lose thread stitched round the bottom of the poof sleeves ready to gather up.

I cut the main body in layers of foam board, then glued them all together and put filler in the gaps. Hot glue, funky foam and a funnel have made up the barrel end of the blunderbuss. The recess for the pipe barrel is a little too large, I'm hoping I can fill it all out with hot glue.

The dress straps are built on buckram so they won't crease up or give under the weight of the dress, I'm going to join the sleeves to these as much as possible and tack the bottom to the bodice.

I've started the glove cuffs and they look like a pair of small lampshades on the table.

Spent today ironing the skirt fabric into pleats. Way faster to do than Arashi's skirt; being short makes it so much easier to handle on the ironing board and meant I could have a cardboard strip template to keep them all the same. Once I've made the waistband I'll sew them flat.

First jacket applique is done, took a while to decide where I wanted the triangles to end, but then it was just a matter of really careful pinning. Side stripes next!

The skirts exist! The black underskirt is just pinned in place, but it's sewn to shape. The overskirt is sewn to the bodice, loosely tailored to shape and flared at the bottom to get that frilled edge effect without needing another seam. This skirt was really confusing, at one point I replaced one panel with two and still only had the same size skirt! I think I'm losing it XD

The petticoat is a bit low on the dummy, I didn't have time to move it for a photo :)

For £15 I've got all the red, white and black cotton drill, Kat lent me a suitable wig and I have the red shoes I bought for Lady Harken! If I didn't shop in London it would be even less, I love cheap costumes :D

I have an old faithful jacket pattern which I've used to quickly run up the body section and the black applique is basted in place, but I need to decide where to stop it at the front. This is the second set of puffy sleeves I'll be making for this con, just can't get enough of them.

The shackle is done! I couldn't find any metallic burgundy paint, so I mixed burgundy and pearlescent medium to get a bit of a glimmer to it and later I'll varnish it up shiny. Found some camping rivets lying around that were perfect for the clasp.

Now to find some plastic garden chain...tried Homebase, but it was all heavy metal or weird shaped.

To get that bluebell shaped skirt I'm bulking it out for support.
I tried out a few options like framed bustles and bum-rolls, but in the end for ability to support all the way round the waist, pack flat and stay light-weight I'm sticking with the petticoat.

I started with an old petticoat purloined from Kat, which I cut to length and then added more gathered netting to the top. I could then rouche each layer up into poofs by stitching vertically down the layer at regular intervals and then pulling on one thread to gather it up to the top before tying the ends off to secure it. This gives it the bulk I need near the top rather than the bottom.

It's a bit of a beast at the moment, but bear in mind the skirt is two fairly heavy layers and it'll weigh it down. For the open front I'm going to sandwich the net between the skirt and the lining so it doesn't poke out the front.

I did some scouting round hardware stores in my lunch break to get an idea of the sizes and types of piping on offer.
I know I want to use layers of foam board for the butt of the blunderbuss and the funnel end will be more secure if I can fix it inside the barrel. This means I need PVC piping to keep it light and hollow (or a narrow cardboard tube, but harder to find in the right strength).

Standard plumbing pipe is only stocked in a few sizes and it seemed like I really want something in between, so I came home and sketched out a blueprint from a combination of my reference pics and real blunderbuss images. I set a maximum length it can be and then filled out the rest to similar proportions. This let me measure off the barrel diameter, so I can go buy the piping that's the closest match.

Almost finished the bodice! I spent ages tweaking the shape and matching up the lining and even longer choosing a shape for the front flap (which is always partially obscured in my references). I'm happy with the result; it can blend into the skirt ruffles and hides the zip nicely.

I still need to finish attaching the lining around the zipper and then I can start on the straps.

I've been looking into a lot of fabric dyes. All the main brand 'turquoise' colours are very blue and the one that did look right has been discontinued in standard packs (but available in £50 bulk tins, helpful). I was looking into mixing dyes, but not too keen on this as it means precise measurements and getting it right multiple times.

Then the other day a liquid dye popped up in my eBay search, Berol liquid batik dye, in turquoise. When I dipped the test piece in it seemed very blue and I thought it was another dead end, but I left it out to dry and when I came back it had dried to a greener shade! Put it up against the references and it's spot on, I'll need to water it down for the paler shade, but no hue mixing hassles!

I've been keeping an eye out for fabric over the last year and realised I was unlikely to find fabric with both the colour and pattern I needed.

A month ago I stumbled over the closest pattern I'd seen yet in white cotton and on sale! I snapped it up and on getting home to look at pictures it's actually a very close match, a bit less leafy, but without making it myself (not going to happen) I'm very happy with it.

Now to find the right fabric dye.

Dolce has a chunky shackle on one ankle. To get the floating effect I'm putting a smaller ring inside as a cushion to hold the shackle up and away from my leg. I was out of upholstery foam, so I just layered up funky foam scraps for this.

The shackle itself is three layers of funky foam, heated with a hair dryer and shaped round before gluing the layers together. I've got some large camping rivets for the chain holes, but it really does up with little poppers on the inside faces.

Currently painting it all in many layers of gesso, then I'll sand it down smooth. Need to find a metallic dark red paint to finish.

Learning from my Fai costume there is no way I'm having a real eyepatch; the lack of depth perception and other eye over compensating really messes with you for the rest of the day. So there will be an eye hole cut out and covered with fabric.

For this I got to look a bit mental picking up every black fabric in the shop and putting it right up to my face to see through it. Eventually found a sort of fine jersey which looked solid black, but was just thin enough to see through up close.

After drafting up a pattern in newspaper I cut the shape out of buckram as funky foam doesn't breathe so it would get all sweaty; ok for a thin Sailor tiara, but something this covering, eurgh! It was then covered in the black fabric and edged with bias tape. Just need to put elastic round the back.

For a long time I thought I wouldn't make it, but in a final drive I took the Friday off work and got the costume looking finished from the front, so it would be good for photo shoots. In the end I also joined the masquerade group and had such fun! Beryl/Serenity punch-up? In hind-sight, not having the wings, train and bow tails down the back is the best thing for an Expo, it would have got trashed.

The wig curse nearly stopped everything, but in a stroke of luck the final super-long wig turned up in time and actually had a skin top, so I was able to get the entire thing out of one wig; odango buns, tails and base wig. I didn't have time to actually style the base wig, so I cut it to an appropriate length and it looked fairly in character (if a bit choppy).

I love wearing this costume, I found myself still trying to stroke the ponytails long after I'd taken the wig off.

Spray painted the broach and tiara charm gold. I love how they look here, but I think I sprayed too thickly in one go as there were dents and marks in the paint after travelling to expo. I'm either going to make them again, or sand it all off and try again...probably quicker to just make some new ones and find a good varnish to use at the end.

The tiara charm was glued to thread which was tied to hair grips and pinned under the wig. I will be gluing gold beads onto the thread as well, but for Expo my last minute wig hid everything except the charm anyway.

With the buns complete I just had to hot glue the ponytails into the bottom. This is where I realised I hadn't carved as big a hole into the first bun I made, so gluing the hair ends inside had filled it up! I had to take a craft knife and cut out all the excess hair in the middle, faster than making another bun, but hard work getting through all the glue and hair.

From the first time I considered this costume I wanted to make the buns detachable for transport and storage. By tying and gluing a hair clip to the underside of each they can be easily removed from the base wig. In the end this was super handy with all the wig ordering problems and having to use a last minute base wig for Expo.

Now the bunch of hair is secure in the top, it can be pulled down the outside in small amounts and hot glued inside the carved out bottom. Fiddly work, this took me ages.

Top Tip: If your finger is wet the glue and hair will stay where you stick it instead of on your finger (you also get a second longer before you burn).

Glue burns as standard, though best to leave it a few seconds before sticking the hair down and keep the actual metal end of the glue gun off the hair, as it will melt through your average wig fibre and leave you with loads of little strands too short to stick inside (hair spray will sort that out as long as it's not too many).

I bought some styrofoam spheres in a decent size for the core of my odango buns to keep them light and save on the amount of hair needed.

Using a pen I poked a large hole in the top to hot glue a bunch of hair into. The bottom was chopped off to give a flat base and then carved out inside with a craft knife for space to secure the hair and tuck the ponytails in.

The dress itself is almost finished. It's fully lined with a boned foundation, Dez would be proud ;) I need to hem it now and attach the bow to the front.

The broach and tiara charm are spray painted and drying at the moment. The areas I sanded down haven't taken the paint as smoothly, so I may try a second layer later.

Stopped putting it off and actually cut up the wig today. I tied off the bunches with strong beading thread before cutting them off and setting the ends. I can't find my glue gun, so I resorted to superglue; it's also watery so it soaks in between all the strands and sets really fast.

For the large moon broach and small moon tiara I've sculpted some air dough, they'll be super light. Takes a few days to harden though, so no spray painting just yet.

Holes are poked in the styrofoam balls ready to weft up next.

The main body is done and the foundation is boned! I just need to join all the layers together at the top hem.
Evil dress has managed to find some sauce somehow, ARGH, but it's at the very bottom so I don't have to cry and tear it all up.

The base wig turned up and it was silver instead of white, this costume is so cursed. If the pigtails wig turns up in time I'll sacrifice my Luise wig and cut that up for a base. Though now I appear to be moving house, so this may not make it to Expo anyway :(

I'm starting the outer satin layer today.

The lining and foundation layer is complete. I had some hassle adjusting the top from the pointy boobs of the pattern I used, but it all fits nicely now. I'm planning to add some netting at the bottom of the lining to keep the dress fluffed out.

I've ordered two wigs to build her pigtails, and they should arrive the week before Expo at the latest (I really hope I can get them styled in a week).

After digging around in the cupboard I found 3.5m of white lining fabric my sister gave me as leftovers years ago. Finally I have a use for it!

So I've started the main dress with the lining, this way I can work out any tweaks where it won't show and have more practice sewing the fiddly bits before I do the proper satin outer layer.

This stuff is a real pain to sew, I think I'll stick to cotton lining if I need to buy in future...but this is free so I'll put up with it and go slow :)

I made a few compromises with this costume:

I really hate her hat, no matter how I made it, I looked ridiculous. I still kept the hair fan for the silhouette, but I just used hair clips to hold it in place instead. I found some lovely bronze beads to pick out the designs on it too :)

I made the purple hip straps, but to give them enough space I'd have to wear the trousers really low and they could fall down if I wiggled! Decided it was better (and safer) to leave the straps off.

This week I've been attaching all the little bits and pieces that you make and then forget about.

The necklace now has the little red gems; these are glued to strips of buckram which in turn are glued to the underside of the necklace.

I've sewn in the top shoulder straps, anchored the arm wraps and added some velcro to keep the back closed without anything showing. The Swathes are sewn in place at the back of the trousers and I've used poppers to attach them in the front without blocking the zip. Whilst writing this I've realised a slightly different way I'd like to do it...wonder if I can change it.

To make the jade drops I ordered these clear drops off eBay and painted the backs with jade nail varnish. The painting can look a bit rough, so I wouldn't coat the whole thing, but it looks perfect viewed through the clear front.

My choices now were either painting the inside with acrylic gold paint, which would have brush strokes and not the same shininess, or spraying the outside and being careful when I wear them.

Sprayed up the outsides and they all look fab.

So the plan was to paint the inside of the acrylic spheres to have the perfectly smooth surface and keep the paint safe from knocks and chips while walking around...fail.

Only the surface of a metallic spray paint goes shiny, the underside that showed through the plastic was just a dark brown >.<

Again using fabric left over from other costumes I had enough red and white to make this stripy tube. It's 3 times longer than it needs to be so I can gather it up and get that pouffy look.

Possibly my cheapest costume ever. Between Kat and my old costume leftovers I have all the fabric covered!

Started the top last night. I've gone with two part panels on the front to keep it more fitted, though I possibly overdid it (there's no baggyness anywhere). I think the red belt should hide that, the white band can extend it and I'd have to buy more fabric if I change it, so I'm going to carry on.

I bought brown leather thonging for the accessories and some red fabric paint, but when opened the paint itself was more pink than red (so dissapointed). Just need to hunt down a big fat curtain tassel for the bottom of the tail rope.

To make the pouldrons and elbow guards we blew up two large and two smaller balloons and coated them in paper pulp. We covered an area larger than needed so we could cut it afterwards for a crisp edge.

The pulp took a while to dry (and we couldn't put them in the oven as suggested or the balloons would pop) so I left them in the capable hands of Odangochan and like a paper pulp master she sanded them smooth and stuck on the spikes (plastic ring display stands). I added on the studded edging with the joining hoop and then glued heavy duty poppers to the inside which attached to my top sleeve.
They're so chunky, and I like the way they're not sanded completely smooth so the odd small air pocket makes it look battle damaged. I'd never used paper pulp before and it's incredible stuff; really light but rock solid.

Collar is done, I haven't had a white shirt since school, so I drew round the collar of another shirt and made my own. Need to get some thicker red ribbon so I can make the bow which will popper the whole thing closed.

White underskirt is done, complete with ruffles thanks to Silver's fantastic trim finding skills. I went for the easy option and used the left over white swimsuit fabric from Pluto, so it's just a seam each side, stretch to fit deal. Not enough left to make matching stockings, but I'm now thinking of using power mesh...

Still no idea what colour/texture to make the beige stockings and skirt trim, it's so odd.

Planned out the blunderbuss, after a week searching for fluted funnels (and considering destroying toy trumpets) I went back to the references and it's just straight sided like a normal funnel, at least I hadn't bought anything yet.

I thought about making a black undercoat with a burgandy over layer or a seperate top and skirt and sketched out the possibilities. In the end I've decided to make the black and burgandy bits a one-piece long jacket so I can just pull it on and fasten it at the front. It'll be heavy, but less fussy to get on than lots of layers, it won't shift around through the day and it avoids a lot of problems that only occured with the other designs.

Starting with the base items, I'm currently sewing the collar, bodice and lining. Patterns for the poofy sleeves are underway and I'd like to make some mockups before the real thing as I haven't done this style before.
Once I've got the basic coat I'll work out how to shape the front and add the frills.

Also found the perfect button for her broach. It was a good day to shop.

Stocked up on black cotton drill today and found a lovely satin backed crepe fabric. The subtle sheen and texture will contrast with the plain black cotton without losing that cartoon block colour feel.

We'll have no shiny things here, unless it's gold...mmmm gold.

I did some research looking over the designs and other cosplayers work. I think the best way to get the effect is a close fitting dress in a structured fabric with the extra light fabric and train comming from the bow at the back. Trying to add the sweeping fabric into the base dress loosens the shape over the hips.

I've bought a base pattern of a lovely figure hugging style dress that flares from the knees. The sillouette is spot on, it will only need some alterations to the top. I already have 3m of duchess satin in the cupboard, though I think I'll need more than this; time for logistics.

Finishing touches time! Well, take a day off work to get the thing done time XD

I found a lovely matching sparkly rose in the market, so I used that rather than the fabric flowers in the dress pattern. Using the same beads as the tiara I made some bead strings to dangle down.

At the last minute I realised I'd need money, so I whipped up a little matching draw string purse in the embroidered fabric, far easier to keep on me than a bag.

I had planned to put the dead leaves fabric around the hem, getting broader down the train, but once I'd hemmed the dress it seemed a shame to break up the lovely green train and I only had 1m of it, so I couldn't add extra drapes. I just put it on the bottom of the shawl instead as that hangs at floor length and it gave a similar effect.

Onto the decorations now. I've hand beaded the front of the bodice with gold and green beads at key points of the emboidery design.

I've used an alice band for the base of a tiara, to which I've wired flowers, pinecones and strings of beads. I also completely fell for a leaf design necklace on Etsy, so I took a gamble and bought it (shipped from Canada), it arrived yesterday and it's perfect!

Next up: sewing ivy over the dress seams and making the wrist wraps.

Skirt is now attached, along with the far too fiddly meeting of pleats at the front. I've now altered the pleats on the top and added a dart in the front as the taffeta is a stiffer fabric than suggested for this pattern and I am not the same shape as their model.
The skirt pulls in a bit on the dummy, but when my legs are in there it's all good :)

Next step: attaching the foundation layer and putting on the shoulder straps so it'll stay up!

I'm starting to think this pattern was made for a MENSA test.
I've made the top and the skirt sections separately, but it's turned out larger than stated, so I'm currently trying to take it in. Adding the weight of the skirt will probably change the shape again though.

I'm glad that I managed to get the pattern to match up across the seams. it's not always possible as some pieces curve, but generally it matches up!

I got to wear this for the new Oxford Circus Crossing opening ceremony! The event organisers bizarrely thought to ask for cosplayers to hold the ribbons as the crossing is a common design in Japan so the whole ceremony has a Japanese theme (spot the taiko drummers on the left).
I have an uncanny knack for not being in photos, but I'm just to the right of the centre in this one, honest.

We had to get up ridiculously early and it was freezing cold, so I'm so glad this costume has lots of layers and a long wig. Overall a strange but fun day out with lots of lovely people :D

Pleats...so many pleats!

It's full steam ahead on the dress. I picked up two more types of green fabric to add some textures. One is stretchy (but it was the perfect colour), so I've spent the evening very carefully sewing it to the satin without it warping, I'm not looking forward to pleating that stuff.

Hobbycraft is a place of wonders and I've picked up lots of woody bits to decorate the dress with along with some nice big flowers so I don't have to make the fabric ones included with the dress pattern.
No Dez, no squirrels.

A dig through the fabric cupboard reveals I have a fair bit of the fabric needed already.
I'm thinking of using something stiffer for the dress so it will keep it's shape without having to structure every little bit and I don't want it to be too shiny. I should just need to buy the burgundy fabric and I'm looking out for a nice symmetrical lace to gather on the underskirt.

I got a hook hand for 99p this weekend, bargain!

Added the rivets to the sleeves and laced them up with the same silk cord used in the wig. The only thing left is to add the red threading down the front of the white skirt.

I wanted to be able to transport this costume safely so I've used poppers to attach anything that wouldn't fold easily like the obi bow.

Darrr, the pirate wench who's too quick for the camera. No seriously there are no reference pictures of this woman anywhere! I had to sit down with the game and take pics of her battle so I could actually get something of a decent resolution. Fastest pause button in the west!

The silver bow is the same as the previous one, but being bigger it's floppier. I put a wire in the top to stop it flopping over.
I didn't need to fall back on the fimo broach as I made the resin one successfully! Not as shiny as I'd like, but that's because the original wasn't perfectly smooth, being fimo moulded by hand. This was much lighter and had a nice translucent effect. I also cast a small star for the front of the skirt. I covered it in gold leaf to match the other smaller stars.

I decided to make boot covers because I don't want to spend out lots of money on full length boots, plus in the art they're always really close fitting and average high-street boots are very baggy round my calves.

I started by putting on my base court shoes and drawing out the outline up to my knee. I could then use this as a rough guide to cut out the lycra with an extra inch added on all around the leg (but don't cut round the foot as this needs to be wider than it is high).

Now there's less fabric in the way the rough boot cover can actually be pinned round the shoe just tight enough to smooth out the surface. I made mine a full cover going all the way round the heel and under the sole as I wanted to re-use the shoes later, I did wonder if this would make them slippery on the stage, but it was fine on the day.

Sew the covers up the seams and then pop the base shoe back in, then I could put the black ribbon round the top, glued at the front behind the star. Having this non-stretchy ribbon at the top kept the covers taught and stopped them slipping down my legs.

I finally joined the pants to the top. I'm waiting to cut the neckline once all the decorations are on so I'll know where it stretches.

I figured out the secrets of fake bows, so fiddly to get in place to pin! The back one is all ready to gather, but scaled up it's not as rigid, so I might put a wire inside.

The tiara went really well considering I thought it would be the hardest bit. It's one sheet of funky foam, I drew the indented boarder with a ball point pen before painting it all in gesso, lightly sanding it off and spraying gold.

Expo is so close...

Sailor collar and bows are done, just need to stick the bows permanently into folds. Sewing the white ribbon on the collar was very fiddly, but I'm happy with the result.

I made a start on the accessories tonight. This is the Fimo star broach to go on the front bow (it is black, honestly). I'm going to shape my resin mould from this and I can coat this version in glitter and gloss if all goes wrong. Also patterned the tiara which I'm going to make from craft foam.

Just to prove I haven't forgotten about this!

I've done the poofy sleeves, body, skirts and sailor pants! This is a great pattern, the instructions make it so much more simple than the diagrams look.

I'm aiming to resin cast the star broach, maybe with glitter set in it, but I'm going to cast the resin from an original model of black fimo so I can use that if it all goes wrong.

I doubt I'll have time to make the staff yet, but we shall see.

I have been sketching designs for a very long time and rather than finding I like one more, I just keep comming up with new ideas and can't pick which to make. I've decided the only way to stop myself wasting time is to start with an existing pattern which I can then modify, it's something tangible that I can get on with and faff over the details later.

It's one thing to replicate an existing character design for cosplay, but when there's the free rein of original design I feel like a rabbit in headlights. I don't think I'll do these too often.

The picture is actually two patterns photo-shopped together with a rough colour scheme splashed across it to get the general idea. I've bought the pattern for the lower half and will see what additions I can make once I know all the seams :)

The inside of the wings was a real mess of glue and scraps, so I lined the inside edges with a row or two of feathers and then glued some simple black cotton across the gap so it wouldn't show.

The wings just hook into a belt and with the skirts on top they are just heavy enough to stay wherever you position them as the hooks are roughly at their centre of balance.

Hunting round Shep Bush turned up a wonderful silk chiffon in mottled browns, it has rows of roughly cut patches sewn on top. It doesn't quite look right in a sheet but I think if I cut it into the rows it'll make a wonderful trim.

I got many metres of pale brown chiffon with branch patterns, I'm thinking some form of floaty sleeves, but maybe a layer of skirts.

The embroidered green taffeta I found online and this is the current winner for the base dress fabric. I've never thought of using taffeta before, but I really like the embroidery on this.

Bargain beads are wonderful! Found my three forest colours in these lovely assorted pearl beads, lucky day!

I'd really like to find some embroidered/lace motifs for the bodice, but they all seem to be mostly white for bridal dresses. I'm going to do some experimenting with 3D paint fake embroidery and see if I can make my own.

I'm also hoping to put little bells in the bead strings so it'll tinkle :)

Still no final design.

Cut out all the panels for the bodysuit.
I didn't realise from the pictures that the skirt is actually sewn into the leotard on this pattern. I thought it was tacked on top. Remembering what Chevi said about the skirt sitting quite high on the waist, I've added some extra length to the top panels and I'm going to work out how far to drop the waist seam.

Also prototyped a glove. Initial attempts have been a bit tight, making my hands go cold in seconds. I was hoping I could skip using finger gussets because the fabric is so stretchy, but I may have to if I want to keep blood in my hands.

I've dug Hildarea out from under the table for Minami 16 as part of my vow to finish the pile of half done costumes I've racked up.

The chicken wire hat is way too heavy to work, so I've picked up a roll of buckram and I'm going to wire up the circumference.
This is my first time working with buckram, so it's all new and exciting XD

Thankfully I kept the pendant I made, so I'm a little way ahead.

Bling done! Two layers of funky foam sprayed gold and weathered with black acrylic. I'm going to put poppers on the arm wraps to hold them closed.

I've finished the belt ornaments. I had a bit of a panic on this as I had no idea how to string it all together. Then I realised on the reference you can see the swathe fabric through the gaps, so I stuck them all to a piece of funky foam covered with the swathe fabric :)
Hearts are resin cast, but the silicone mould had too many imperfections to cast shiny gems, so I nail varnished them. A few brush strokes, but better than dullness.

I have clothes to wear :D

Just need to neaten up the ends and put some poppers round one side of the skirt (the bodice zips up the back, but the skirt splits at the front).
I'm going to stuff some netting at the back for a bustle.

I went for textured fabrics to make it a little more interesting. The bodice is crepe-backed satin (pink) and satin backed dupion (white).

The top itself is finished! I drew the designs on with a gold pen, satin takes it quite well as long as your careful to follow the grain.
Bracelets are sanded down and ready for spraying tomorrow.

The gladiator skirt is done, I went with the buttons in the end; they're caps for coverable buttons so I glued a chunk of foam to the inside for more glue gripping surface. Need to decide where to trim off the top of the waistband.

Wig and shoes ordered, KwikSew pattern #2310 got! Starting this when I get back from Aya :D
Also found a bag of assorted metal star buttons in a bargin bin, perfect size for the boots and tiara. I might paint them, or I could use them to make resin molds from, though black resin isn't that great to look at...

I've made a new top, this one is lined and feels a lot more sturdy. I also found a nice gold bias which already looks a lot neater than the ribbon I used on version 1.

The bracelets and belt ornaments are primed and waiting; I just need to buy some more gold spray. The hearts are foil backed resin in a funky foam setting.

I have been bias binding the panels for the black underskirt, it seemed to take forever, but all done now :) Trying to decide whether to use studs or buttons, for the details, I'll do a tester and see if my studs weight it down too much.

After some trial and error, I've used Heat n' Bond to back the white fabric for the armguards, so the petals are just cut straight out of the fabric, no hemming, no seams. It's wonderful stuff.

This is the pendant for Li, made the same way as the Fai Pendant. I was worried this would be quite fragile as it's bigger than Fai's and has the spread wing shape which makes it thinner and gives more leverage to snap. To compensate, I tweaked the outline to remove anything spindly and make it wider at the join between the wings that goes behind the shield as this was the bit most likely to snap if the wings were knocked.

Because the shape spans out it took me ages to get it vaguely symmetrical as I'm really picky with this kind of thing. I was poking at it for ages before my sanity told me to make do or lose it. One wrong move and I'd have been kicking myself.
Very happy with the results :)

This is the finished Fai Pendant.
In the end I sculpted the wings from fimo, painted them with silver marker and varnished with clear nail varnish.
The shield is black acrylic sheet, wonderfully sanded to shape by Delusional and the edges coloured with silver marker.

All the parts were connected together with jump rings.

In true Amy style I'm taking too much time, so Dahna will be comming to Aya instead of AX. So much for a cool wig-free costume in LA.

I managed to finish lining the top the other night. It looks so much nicer than the original, though turning it inside out through the tiny channel at the front was a feat.

After painting the design in white acrylic I've used gold pen over the top. The first few weren't as neat as I'd like, but thankfully they're on the back of the trousers and I've picked up a thinner pen now, which is looking a lot better :)

I've sewn the top lining panels together, so now to bite the bullet and cut the curves into the hemline.

This weekend I've got the basic top sewn sewn, made a stencil and started printing the pattern onto the bottom of the trousers. I've had to resort to painting it in white acrylic before using the gold, as it was soaking into the red fabric making a dull black.

The shop didn't do gold ring bases, so I've painted all my silver findings with gold pen. Rings done and necklace almost done if I can find some metal to put behind the red gems, otherwise I'll leave it green only.
I did make funky foam settings for the gems, but after half a day painting and sanding them, I've decided I don't like them and painting the edges of the gems in gold looks much better. Ah well.

I can sense that hat getting closer...

As AX is so close and I want to avoid wearing a wig in LA, I decided remaking Dana would be a great idea as I think I can really improve on my first try now.

I want to resin cast all the gems, but due to a lack of molds and not much time left to import a mold/make my own, I've settled on just casting the heart gem and buying the normal shaped gems. I found some lovely ones with flowers set into the resin, they're so pretty I'm sure Dana would want them!

I've made a start on the group jewellery. Crafting tool of choice? A fork!
For the smallest pieces I'm using Fimo which will be sprayed silver when everything is done. So far I've done Sakuras choker wings and Fai's ring wing.
We've bought black acrylic for the shield pendants and plan to cast the big wing pendants in resin, but I'll have to make the originals out of Fimo. I'm a bit scared of starting them XD

The hunt for black jeans is proving harder than I thought, not popular summer wear.

A light and simple costume to take to LA for Anime Expo. Should be a fun group with Lex_is_evil as Sakura and Delusional as Li :)

A step ahead on this one. Lex_is_evil lent me a Fai shirt she made for an old group and it's just some black trousers, so that makes a change from my usual 'I have all the accessories, but forgot the clothes'. In return I'm making the wing jewellery for the group :)

I solved my horn dilemma by...starting the corset instead XD
It's hard to see in the photo as I'm using black funky foam, but I'm using layers to get the main details with curved folds down the front panels. I'm going to do the smaller details with glue gun.

I'm being held up by my inability to decide how I want the horns to curl >.<
I don't like the idea of them only sticking out to the side, I want a spiral to them, but I keep wanting to tweak the proportions. There are three different pics with this headdress and each one is a different curl, damn you brain just pick one, it's been 3 days!

The obi is the same cotton as the skirt. I had to buttonhole each strip so the velvet ribbon could weave through. Took the cheating route and ran a thin layer of glue over the end of each cut to stop it fraying :)

I tried out different methods of getting the line down the middle of the ribbons, and found the best way was to draw it on with a pen/pencil (pen looked too stark on the beige). Sewing onto the ribbon or glueing/sewing two thinner ribbons together warped the ribbon which looked awful.

Air dough is strange stuff, it's incredibly light and because of that it will actually ruckle and crease if you try to mould it too far in one go. It's exactly like moulding stale marshmallow. I'm not patient enough to work that slowly, so I'm going to fill the gaps with gesso when I'm done.
I'm going to add the horns when it's dry so I don't squish it :)

I drafted and cut the arm bangle out of funky foam. It seemed too flat, so I used a glue gun to get a curved enamel effect and I'm going to spray paint it silver.

The wire is the base for the headdress horns, which I'm going to build up with Air Dough.

Spoke to a lovely lady on Cosplay.com who did a similar shape Dawn costume. I'm going to try using wire in the bustline to keep the cutaway shape :)

I coated everything in gesso to make the funky foam stronger and less dentable. On the feathers I painted each from the centre out so the brush marks looked like feather strands.

I used metalic paint because I thought of how birds sometimes have almost two-tone colours to their feathers. It also stops the shapes looking flat. It was really hard to find metalic purple though so I cut my losses when I found a metalic rose and blue, deciding to mix them. This worked out easier in the end as I was able to vary the shades for the different sections of feathers and armour.

Ironically I spent so long getting all the craft work out of the way, that I let the sewing slip. So I'm an armoured Valkyrie without a bodice >.> Yeah, not wanting to expose all Griselda will be waiting till Aya (Gwen and Velvet will still be at Minami).
To look on the bright side maybe we'll be able to grab a few extra group members by then :)

Having my last week of cosplay stolen by germs, I won't be bringing Arashi to Minami :(
But I should have her finished soon after for photos/a future event.

In bonus news I finally finished that damn pleated skirt and found it was too big, so most of the pleats were cut off!

Six sheets of funky foam and some shredded hands later...

I used the same foam feather method from the headress on a larger scale, with garden wire for the basic outline.

I tried 'sculpting mesh' for filling the structure (super expensive, but this was a freebie, so wahey!) rather than chicken wire. It's incredibly light and moulds to any shape. Even when finished these wings weigh practically nothing.

I didn't think there was enough surface area on the mesh for gluing, so when attaching the feathers I used a scap of funky foam on the opposite side to sandwitch the mesh, it looks like a craft scrapheap on the inside XD

Now to make the second one...

I finished my arm ribbons :) The hawk bells are so much fun!

Kimono/dress thing is well under way, just need to decide where to fold back the edges of the drape. I bought the velvet ribbon for the obi details. Urgh, I hate buying trimmings from London shops, I feel as though my wallet's been gutted, but I couldn't find the right width on ebay.

So I gave the foam feathers a go and they look perfect! I'm so pleased with how they've turned out on the headpieces. Six hours of folding petal shapes in half and gently stretching the foam along the fold has crippled my hands. Not looking forward to the full wings, I need robo hands.

Started on the bodice and skirts. I'd managed to put the fabric on a damp patch of floor, but thankfully I could squish the panels between the stains. So nearly foiled!

Hurrah for kiddies costume bullet belts!

I've got stockings and gloves done. I started the bodysuit and realised I'd cut everything stretching the wrong way, so that became the stockings.
Primark solved my shoe problem by stocking what no one else will (for a fiver) and I grabbed some cream canvas to make boot covers. I love the boot design; quilted tabs XD

Bring on the retro biker kitties, with my partner in crime; Odangochan.
We've gone for a combination of references as we liked the black costumes, but preferred the asymmetrical design of the similar red ones, so we ignored the second set of pouldrons and elbow guards. Mirror image twins works so much better, then we just had to fight over who got the shoulder or garter bullet belt :)

Odangochan has ordered us pre-styled drag queen wigs and they are truly huge.

I have finished the cropped turtle neck. It's the most unflattering piece of clothing I have ever made! Thank goodness it'll be mostly under the kimono.

I've just realised that my dummy looks incredibly manly with the photo cut off there, how am I supposed to fit anything XD

I sketched out the leg wings and broke them down in to layers by feather length. I think individual feathers layered up would be too bulky for this part, so to break up the vertical space I etched the details into the foam with a ball point pen.
Finally chopped the knee plates off to the final length and added the edging.

Using the patterns made yesterday I cut out all the armour plates and the second layer of details.
I took a lot of time testing methods for the knee parts. Stretching hot funky foam over a shape only works if you can hold the entire sheet evenly or other areas will warp too. I found I could get a great curve, but was left with a lettuce effect around it. Other methods like using a net and cutting darts into the sheet can be fiddly to get curved or look angular.
I went for the best of both worlds and managed to get the curve by firstly cutting darts and gluing them in place and then using a heat gun I eased the sheet slightly around the joins to smooth out the flat sides into curves. Because there was only a small amount of stretching there wasn't the problem of excess material.
I haven't quite decided how long to make the knee plate up the leg.

This weekend Delusional and I decided to motivate each other. Super progress gets!
I managed to make the crown in two layers of funky foam and plan all the paper patterns for the leg armour and arm guards.

In a break from sewing I'm back to my old friend funky foam to make this armour. I've spent days trying to rework the designs so they'll fit on my normal length limbs without looking squished. There's also some fiddly curves I'm trying to get with as little cutting as possible. I'm pretty sure my gesso is thick enough to smooth over dart lines though.

I did a lot of research into armour making techniques and how other people have made costumes with feather effects. I came away with three viable options:

Real feathers: Looks great when done, but easily damaged and fluffed up by transport, crowds and wind. I don't want to put in all that effort and have a gust of wind spoil all the neat edges. Also expensive to get.

Funky foam: Relatively cheap, fairly sturdy in layers and I'm used to working with this material. Would have to paint on the feather effect, or go for a cartoony look. I think I'm going to use this method.

Varnished fur: Explained to me by Fatkraken (see her Manabeast costume). Cut a feather shape and brush fur into a parting down the middle before varnishing it flat. Looks really good for oversized feathers, might not scale down well. Finding varied fur colours is notoriously difficult especially in such a close range of purple to pink.

After 4 hours of pleating I have half a skirt! Hopefully I can do 4 hours tonight and finish it off :)

Looking at the unhelpful pic I decided this was a full skirt rather than skirt hakama (which will also give a flat waistband under the obi). I am going to swap the pleating directions so all pleats are towards the centre as they would be on hakama, I think this will look more balanced.

I've bought enough red cotton-drill to make sails for a ketch. Huge thanks to Lex for finding me a pattern for hakama, the sheer amount of fabric in those pleats is scary!

I should be able to save money on the rest though, as I'm sure I have maroon, fawn and white cotton-esque fabrics left over from old costumes :)
I'm also using my Kendappa wig, so I'm way ahead with this one!

I wanted a sturdy bodice with a floaty skirt.

From the very beginning I saw the skirt as white satin shining through a blue chiffon overlay. I just couldn't visualise it as a white sheen on blue satin, it seemed too harsh for the character. I managed to find the perfect Caribbean blue chiffon in Shepherds Bush and also a soft, floaty, white satin-esque fabric which actually has a striped texture to it (and very cheap).
The skirt is a fuller-than-circle skirt, maths tells me it's 10-11 metres round the hem. I used such soft, draping fabric, it hangs deceptively flat, which is perfect for dancing :)

The bodice is left over black satin and after failing to find the darker blue for the front panel in a satin I went with overlaying a crinkle chiffon on the black. This turned out to be even better as having the same fabric for the whole base made shaping the bodice easier. The white sections were going to be plain white satin, but when I saw one with butterfly patterns weaved into the fabric I just had to use it even if it was flimsy and frayed like crazy (interfacing solves all).

This costume is the reason I got an overlocker; I couldn't have managed the chiffons and butterfly satin without it, they would have frayed into nothingness and left me trailing threads round the ballroom.

The cage! To me, the most important part of the costume. I have made a grid of boning held together with pins pushed through, so it's a bit spikey to try on XD
Just sewing the cage to the waistband made it fall flat from the belt, so I sewed it upside down, allowing it to bend back on itself and hold the shape.

I'm going to use the busstle method of a stip of fabric attached at each side seam of the cage rather than a bumroll as this will be cooler and lighter, I will have to be careful how far down I take this as the front of the skirt is open :)

I cut the huuuuge hat brim out of chicken wire (shredding my fingers in the process). To stop the wire wearing through the cover and snagging unwary passers by, I wrapped insulation tape around the edges. Having cut the head hole into it I'm starting to wonder if this is too heavy in chicken wire, if I turn my head too quickly I can imagine it falling off.

I've found some lovely soft white viscose fabric for £2p/m. Take that ebay shop who tried to charge me £6. Bargin!

I've also picked up some air dough. I'm thinking I can use a polystyrene ball with a coat hanger through it as a base structure and then build up the skull and horns with dough. This should make it really light to wear, but not as fragile as air dough on it's own :)

I've also started to build the halo out of foam board; sanding down the edges is getting dust everywhere :/

I used funky foam for the headdress wings and the largest coins in the belt and headdress. I coated them in several layers of PVA glue and then sprayed them chrome silver. I swapped the spikes round the gems for another Kendappa headdress design with a wing/flame effect. I thought the one in this pic looked like knives strapped to the side of her head and that didn't seem to fit the image.

I left the shawl out because realistically it would just hang flat over the dress and hide everything. The only way to have it like in the picture would be to wire the edges and I could see that becoming really annoying in a crowded ballroom with people brushing past. I did consider having it over just one shoulder stitched from the edge of the dress strap and tucked into the belt (like a sari, which she also wears in other art), but none of my skirt fabric leftovers were quite the right shape :)

Most of the bling I already owned, I just needed to buy a matching necklace and a few bangles. The rest is all bellydancing coins and bells sewn to the costume.

My first attempt at casting resin for that giant Clamp-gem look :)

The ones in the thick acrylic mold came out perfectly. The ones from the thinner plastic were fine until I tried to demold them when the top layer stuck to the mold and the gem was left cloudy.
I think I will splash out and try making my own rubber based molds next time. It will also be far easier to get them out with a flexible mold, I nearly broke my fingers demolding these!

Note to self: dribbled unmixed resin never dries, no licking fingers!

My workmates think I'm a morris dancer >.<
I had packs of bells and bellydancing coins posted to the office.

I think I now have all the materials I need, so let the bling begin!

Having neatened up everything I'd already made I'm now well into making all the new additions; including her gun :D

I've used 5mm and 3mm foamboard glued in layers to make the 3D shape and sanded it down smooth. Everything is covered in foam dust! *cough*

There are a lot of little differences between the art work and the game model for Maria, so I went with a mix of the convenient parts of each. My old friend funky foam was used for the hand armour and covered in suede for the belt (with giant buttons!), pleather for the chest piece and holster band and I turned to foamboard to build up the gun. Finding the chunky zip for the dress was probably the hardest part.

Because I knew I'd be stuck inside helping on the cosplay desk I kept this to as few layers as possible. This meant the chest armour only went round the front and attached at the dress side seams under the jacket. This hid under the jacket quite nicely, but I felt if I did the lower armour plates it would be really clear they didn't go all the way round and would be difficult to keep flat (as well as being warmer), so I left that off.

Made from pink and brown suede, cream suiting and black pleather.
I used two sizes of metal pendant settings glued together for the sleeve and skirt dangles.

A lucky find; the belt bag fabric has little flowers marked into the suede, it's so cute! I shredded the suede and threaded silver beads on the flap. This is the same way I did the dangles above the knees.

The wig was blasted with a hairdryer, hairsprayed upside down and left hanging that way until I put it on, it was still spikey at the end of the day.

The belt buckle was funky foam built up in layers with shapes cut out of the top layer to give a 3D effect. I then pressed the rose petal lines into the top layer and painted it in shades of metallic grey.

Not sure if it's a challenge or a freedom; there is not a single colour image of Rose yet, so I picked a colour palette that felt like it would work with the tones used in the manga and the characters situation.
Thinking leathers and suedes for the Wild West feel, and out of the colours available I'm going for dusky pink/sandy brown/cream/black with silver metals.

I finally finished Lehas! I've had the rough dress hanging around for a very long time, so I'm glad to finally see it finished.
I love this costume for my book prop :D It's cardboard and hollow, so I could carry my phone and wallet with me for the first time ever! It was also the first thing I made for this costume, so I'm surprised it's still in one piece.

I chose faux suedes for the over-dress and neck strap and a super floaty peach-skin cotton for the petticoats. If I wear this again, I must shorten the petticoat at the front, it seems to be just showing beneath the dress all the time.

The petticoat was flat across the front with lots of triangle inserts at the back to make it fuller. The lace front was a panel of black mesh with three rows of scalloped lace sewn on top.

I really enjoyed painting the design on the back! I used acrylic paint on interfaced black cotton with a card stencil and lots of blending. I did want to do all the metal studs down the back, but because I put the zipper in the front I couldn't get the riveting tool further than the top set. I might move the zip to the back for a second attempt.

The hardest part was getting the seams at the front to curve away from the centre without actually flaring the skirt. Much pinning and very slow sewing, very frustrating.

WHAT I LEARNT
-Retro games hate us and only release one picture of your character obscuring the front of the costume!

-Use the same colour funky foam as the final colour, it saves a lot of hassle. The shop I used didn't sell white, so I used yellow as the closest match. Even after two coats of paint the yellow showed through (worst on detail work).

-No matter how long ago you sprayed it, pack the pieces in separate bags before packing for the con. Red marks on white bands >.<

-Contact adhesive reacts with paint; be neat with your gluing. Anywhere the glue had squidged out from under a layer the paint would not settle, thankfully there were only a few small areas this happened.

-Dust will attack your drying PVA, only really a problem if your making something white.

-Jump suits are silly, especially Santa ones!

The knee guards are two similar diamonds slightly moulded under heat to curve over the knee vertically. The top layer is riveted in place like a bridge to always stick out. Secured with buckles and elastic.

The egg that hides the belt buckle was made from some easter egg packaging spray painted on the inside with permanent marker for the line on the outside. I then stuck a funky foam ring around it and added some belt loops. The paint warped the plastic and I was hoping to do this some other way, but ran out of time, so alas it stayed.

The head wings were attached to the wig by long safety pins mounted on the back.

The scythe is made of one 5mm layer of polyboard sprayed silver with two more layers glued on top for the hilt sprayed gold. The vein detail was made with a glue gun; let the last layer dry then work over the top to get it to really stick out.
The handle was a super cheap aluminium curtain rail from Homebase with polystyrene balls painted with gold acrylic (anything with solvents will dissolve them, no spray paint!)

All of the armour was glued with contact adhesive for strong, smooth joins and instant stick (no holding awkward curves in place while it dries. Details were made with more layers of Funky Foam. The FF was coated in about 8 layers of PVA glue to get a shiny toughened effect before spraying over with paint. Plastic bags and masking tape kept the red and white spray paint neat.

For the chest piece I used a bodice top pattern for the shape of the panels and added piping down the front seams. It was secured by elastic straps from 6 buckles in a harness effect.

For the leg guards I drew around my leg profile and cut two panels with half the curve of the profile. For the arms I used one sheet cut into a truncated cone shape. I then glued strips on top to get the ridged effect and used rivets to lace them up.

The skirt flaps were made in three sections simply because I could not buy big enough sheets of funky foam. This also meant I had to have join lines in the top layers, which was fiddly as they had to be glued on once the base layer had been bent into shape. I filled any gaps with splinters of funky foam.
There are three belt loops on the inside at the top and a roll of foam at the hip to make them stick out rather than hang at my sides.

To keep the cape in place it was sewn into pleats so it could never fall wider than my shoulders.

The collar and shoulder guard were covered in red pleather instead of painted as I thought the cape might start to rub. I also used pleather for the front flap as I need to be able to walk, so funky foam was out of the question.

The whole suit is thick black satin with an extra seam in the sleeves for the split. I thought the sleeves needed to look as lush as the rest, so instead of trimming with lace, I made a white satin sleeve with a white lace over-sleeve that was slightly longer. The lining is a beautiful green/blue satin that was just the perfect colour. The belt is again the fantastic thick felt I've used since Feena, covered in blue suiting with silver ribbon sewn on in strips and white zigzag stitching.

All the patterns are painted on with a white Pilot marker. It really needs some more layers to get a bright white, so if I keep going over it, they'll really stand out for next time.

All the beads and bits were from Hobbycraft and painted in glass paint if they weren't already the right colour. The belt butterfly was a lucky find of a super tacky necklace in Claires that I painted with glass paint and glued a safety pin to.

The headpiece was made from a sheet of acetate laminated to make it thicker and then painted with glass paint and sprinkled with glitter. The glitter is only on the back to show through, but I'm going to put it on the front now so it'll show up better and take the sheen off the acetate in photos. These are attached to a wire headband that runs under the wig and out either side.

I was wearing stupidly large platform heels to get that leggy Luise look, I can't wear the trousers without them or they drag on the floor.

I did have some matching blue false nails, but I ran out of time before the group photos >.<

Thanks to Tak for the fantastic makeup job! It makes such a difference.

Lucia returns! I updated this costume for Ame 08 as I wasn't completely happy with it.

This time I got a nicer wig and made the shorts slightly shorter, as well as tweaking the top to be a proper off-shoulder shape with a tighter pink banding. I glued red fabric triangles to the top this time instead of painting them and used black acrylic to paint the black central triangle. The belt buckle got an upgrade to funky foam with studs and painted in silver acrylic.
Most importantly (to those who saw me make it but not take it to Minami) I had the shawl! Yay applique patchwork! Although it was really fiddly to carry, so I left it in my bag half the time XD

So many Grandia cosplayers in one place! It was so much fun being in a group from such a bright and happy game.

Adventurers don't have time for fancy materials, so everything is cotton or natural looking fibres with rough weaves. I used a thick fleece/felt-type fabric for the belt and covered it in the orange and ribbon details. The felt is really versatile; super bendy, easy to cut, sews end to end with itself and is really strong.

I made stencils for the sleeve, boot cuff, headpiece and bag designs and then used spray paint for a really neat look and crisp lines.
The hip bag had wadding and boning inside to keep the shape and I used rivets all around the outside and added ribboning as I was going for a mix of the in game and concept artwork images.
The headpieces and whip handle were all made of sprayed funky foam with a curtain braid for the whip line and some small metal details glued on.
For the necklace I ended up using a mirror tile coated in glass paint and hung on invisible plastic thread and all the beads were pearl-effect plastic which makes a really great effect with one coat of red nail varnish (the pearling shows through like a tint).

Warning: When not trying to complete a dissertation, leave time to try on headpieces before the con weekend...I never measured the head triangles and they are far bigger than I wanted, door hazard!

I wore my own jeans and turtleneck jumper and made a long white coat from suiting. I sewed the seams in contrast black thread and used rivets and chunky buckles on the front straps. The fur on the collar was really cheap...I know I bought some nice stuff to remake it and it's in a bag somewhere still.

The wig was my first attempt at styling, so that needs a real rehash, but I coloured the short underside with a permanent marker, and I like how that turned out. I didn't remember to wash it after though, so the coat collar is pretty black now.

The goggles were lent to me and thankfully hid just how silly the wig really was at the front ^^ I wish there were more/better pics of this I would love to wear it again.

Huge hair! Shame I didn't get a photo when it was first spiked up, I ended up looking like an 80's rock star instead.
Super comfy to wear, and a great excuse to be a complete tomboy. There were plans to pick Dizzy (Delusional) up and run out of the masquerade, but I'm the wussiest Sol ever.

I used 1cm foam in the headband and shoe tongues and spent an age sewing pleather into belts and riveting all the holes. Everything is basic cotton suiting fabric with satin bias for a contrast.
The belt panel was funky foam sprayed gunmetal silver and then sealed with a varnish. This made all the difference and although the foam developed a few crease lines, the paint never cracked or flaked.

The buckles were a pain to track down; I eventually found some great ones online at a carthorse tack supplier. They weigh a tonne, but were only £2 each for the largest and really made the costume, no girly buckles for Sol ^-^

I think my two leg straps should have been wider, but that's my only annoyance, so a pretty good result!

I also made the Ky Kiske costume as a present for Spunky, he makes a fantastic Ky ^-^ Made in the same methods/fabrics as Sol with the addition of 1cm foam arm guards and some fimo button details on the coat (superglued poppers to the back).
I found that I'm far neater when sewing for others and it's so much easier to tailor to someone else. Being able to stand back and see what needs changing makes a world of difference.

A pairing with Delusional as Excel.
This is the source of my loathing for Lycra, though the foam shoulders were fun to make. They were four panels of upholstery foam sewn together into that torpedo shape with an armhole.

We only wore these while we helped on a dealers-room table, I was quite rushed as I put all my time into the masquerade costume I took to this con, but as my first dip into the land of stretch-wear I'm glad I did it :)

Forgot to put my gloves on for the photo too, they would have hidden the safety pins >.<

The silver cuff is the top side of Pringles tubes glued together and spray painted (the ridged end gave it a more finished look). The shoes were masking taped and sprayed and the side dangly bits were a smarties tube and a lump of fimo with some feathers and beads for good measure. All the detail was drawn on with a black permanent marker (eeeep no mistakes!). The other cuff is the middle of a Pringles tube with some 1cm foam wrapped around the bottom and covered with the dress fabric.

The wig weighed a tonne and I didn't really have enough hair grips in, so it felt a bit unstable. I was going to add two falls for the braids, but I managed to save some money by making a top knot out of 1cm foam rolled into a swiss roll shape and pinned to a flat base, I then painted it black and wrapped enough hair from the top of the wig around it to just cover the surface, this left pretty much all the wig for the braids and I could put her hair stick through the middle of the roll ^^

The whole costume was made out of an amazing fabric I found by chance and haven't seen since, I think it's a variant of Voille but it was incredibly thin, very weighty and moved like a dream. Was a complete arse to interface the bodice though as the same property that made it move so well also made it change shape when pulled in different directions. I had to be very careful to keep the outline the right size when ironing the pieces to the interfacing. I hid a zip down the back where the centre seam sits and then added a fake panel to finish the cross over effect and to secure the arm...sock I took the webbing from a hold-up stocking and sewed it into the top; it hardly moved all day.

All the white detailing was done with white acrylic paint mixed with fabric medium and a very small brush. Painting this was actually my favourite task! I'm incredibly pleased with how it turned out.

The skirt sides were tube elastic sewn into the hem and I added another piece just above knee hight to stay between my legs and stop the skirt flapping over and hiding the split.

I love how everything is oversized and bright colours. There is a limited edition of the game that comes with her pendant, but I really wanted to make my own as the official one is very small, so mine is Fimo painted in gold paint.

All the clothes are made with cotton stretch suiting as it's bright and cheap. The wig was a joke shop wig which worked fine as I didn't need to do anything to it and didn't have to wear it for long (not much tangling).

The painting on the top went slightly wrong and I'd love to do it again if I find a chance, but it wasn't too obvious and didn't ruin the costume. I'd also change the way the elastic in the top works to stop the sleeves drooping lower than the front.

To decide on a design I used the clothes in the reference picture shown and merged it with some features and the colours on another art book picture that could almost be the same costume.

Made from white duchess satin and the most amazing smokey blue satin I found by chance in a tiny shop. The skirt is very full, but lies fairly flat when still. With the blue rippled fabric on top this is a very heavy skirt and I was slightly worried, as it's designed to sit on hips, that the weight would pull it down, but it worked fine with the belt separate on top to give a smooth line. The top zips up at the back and is cut straight across at the front, but then gathered by a pin-backed circle ornament.

The big circular designs on the headdress and skirt front were made by sticking some spare metal bangles to a sheet of the white satin and trimming off the edges when dry. I then used a gold Guter pen to draw the inner designs and glued the small coloured stones to the satin (bought from a craft shop). Using the metal bangle for the frame made them really sturdy and gave them a slight weight so they hung nicely. Though I did have to peel them off my bathroom floor after glueing ^^

For the headdress I bought standard craft shop feathers (two lots bending in opposite directions) and trimmed them down to sleek points before glueing them in behind the headdress circles. I glued a large safety pin to the back of these circles and hung the tassel off it (with a little glue to hold central) this meant they could then be removed from the headband and laid flat to avoid being crushed in transit. The circle on the belt was also pin-backed for easy dressing.

I was lucky this kind of jewellery was in fashion at the time and got an amazingly loud jingly belt in the sales. The other drapery is plastic Fabricland trimmings, but I think having the noise when you move really makes a difference.

Towering bunnygirl of doom! I was far too tall for this costume, really needs some proportion altering.

Everything red was made of thick red velvet. While this gave a really great look (the sort of half sheen), it was not even remotely stretchy. Everything had to be cut and tailored exactly to fit, even the hat cover and it frayed like crazy. I used thick black ribbon for the trims and belt and having found no suitable lace, proceeded to hem and gather several miles of white cotton. I really should have backed the belt ribbon as the amount of ruffles kept twisting it over.

The wings were thin stretchy velvet sewn in two layer wing shapes per wing and fitted over a single coat hanger outline which hooked into my bra band and pinned to the top too for security.

The hat was an oddity; it felt perfectly secure and well balanced and I never had any trouble keeping it on, yet in all the photos it looks extremely precarious. It was entirely made of cardboard and sellotape covered in velvet. If there was one thing I could go back and do over it would be that hat. I really need to learn to try my costume on before the Con.

Huge thanks to Weez for lending me a pink wig on the day (I hadn't been able to find one anywhere). I did put the side curls in it, but only for the masquerade itself, so no photos.

This was my first time following a pattern for real clothes and I was really pleased with the way it turned out.

I tried using some textured fabric for this costume, having done some research and decided I didn't like the block shiny effect of satin/silk in large amounts.
The main dress and cuffs were made of white and red crepe-backed satin and the overskirt was a similar material with small creases textured all over it.

The shoulder pieces were christmas ball decorations with a hole cut in the bottom and some unbraided green curtain rope glued in place. They were attached to some last minute paper boxes (it needs something far stronger, but surprisingly they held perfectly for one day). My fantastic friend Jem glued and taped them all together while I panicked my way into costume ^-^

Having not found funky foam yet, the collar clip was made of thin wooden board spray painted.

There was a problem with this dress; I cut the pattern too big as I'd rather be able to take it in than not have enough. I then realised a flaw in my plan when I sewed the overskirt on literally the night before the Con...The overskirt opened at the front...my dress zipped up at the back (fake closings at the front). Result: very un-tailored dress! I had to leave the waist the size of my hips so I could just about slip into it, but the sheer weight of fabric in the overskirt kept the dress pulled taught, so it never looked baggy, just tube-ish thank goodness.

Made with Fimo and paper craft balls (originally tried polystyrene balls until learning the valuable 'paint dissolves all' lesson). I painted the balls with several coats of nail varnish and gave myself some awful headaches (should really have done it outside). The fimo fangs were baked on kebab skewers to keep the holes open and then varnished.

The best part was sculpting the little skull, I was impressed to find that white fimo goes a mottled yellow/white when baked, it looked a lot like bone. I went over the details in black permanent pen before varnishing the skull too and then strung the whole lot together.


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