Mighty Odango avatar

Mighty Odango
Progress

I started cosplaying in 1999 (a couple of years of dressing as Dana Scully when I was 13 aside), due entirely to a then new-found interest in the Rocky Horror show. I subsequently became a part of the sci-fi convention community, and cosplay became a larger part of my life as I made more cosplaying friends. Eventually I stumbled upon the anime circuit, having already cosplayed Sailor Moon characters at sci-fi cons, and it all went downhill from there!

For me cosplay is a way to express my frustrated creativity. I hated textiles class in school and would never have dreamed that I could create things like I can now. I've always had a love of fabrics for their tactile nature, on the other hand, so perhaps it was natural for me to get into a hobby where I could use so many different varieties. I'm also a frustrated actor, so the opportunity to act as a different character for a day is immensely appealing to me.

My proudest moments are probably twofold, the first being finally finishing the Satine costume that I'd started 5 years previous. It took a lot of time, money and love to get that done, and I was ecstatic to win a portable DVD player for my efforts.
The second is my Laughing Octopus costume. It's a radical departure from anything I've made before, as there was a lot more to it than the usual sewing and it pushed my boundaries. I learned a lot from making it and I'm proud of the result. I've yet to win any awards for it but honestly, after a couple of years of planning and almost a whole year of construction, just finishing it was its own reward.

I adore cosplaying in a group with my friends. I've found the cosplay community to be largely very friendly and welcoming to me, and have made some really valuable friendships from it. I'm also fortunate in that my partner is also a cosplayer and thus understands the madness behind it all.

Last online 8 months ago

Plymouth

Joined: 29th Jun 2007

Completed costumes: 108

Photos uploaded: 285

Progress journals: 155

Events attended: 45

http://www.facebook.com/MightyOdangoCosplay

MightyOdango

I got more comments and queries than I could count at Hibana about how shiny my armour was!
It actually came about partly because I am a lazy lazy bum. I hate priming foam or worbla to the extent it needs for a nice smooth metal-like finish because it takes so LONG and painting/prop stuff is my least favourite thing to do in cosplay. I was wondering about a way I could get a nice finish without having to spend hours, and I eventually hit upon the idea of using mirror foil - the stuff you put on windows to give them a mirror effect.
It was perfect for Sonic's armour because it's all single planes. I used PETG plastic as a base (except for one piece, which was worbla, which I then decided against). The foil is flexible enough to curve in a single direction. It did suffer some bubbling on the shoulder armour pieces because I shaped them before applying the foil, so it was awkward to apply - not sure if applying foil first would work better or not.
The dome detailing is studs designed for the bottom of handbags and most of it fastens with heavy duty press studs.

I also used a hack on the scarf. My intention was to do a rolled hem, but I was having an argument with the rolled hem foot on my machine and eventually said "f*** it" and just cut/sealed the edges using a pyrography tool; since it was a synthetic fabric it worked perfectly and gave the scarf a great flow unhindered by hems.

I should be a lot further along than I am but I keep making DUMB mistakes like cutting the front pieces of the coat with the pile going in the wrong direction and realising that my idea of skipping the coat pockets to save 10 minutes of sewing is stupid given that Chrollo perpetually has his hands in his coat pockets. SO there's that. (I've fixed the first issue, yet to fix the second).
However, the cross applique on the back is done, which was a pretty tricky shape to cut and apply given it's an outline shape. I've also applied horsehair braid to the hem to kick it out a bit - first time using it.
Collar is cut and sewn up, needs adding to coat but I have to check if I need some kind of stand in there.
;
I bought fabric to make the top from scratch but as time marches onwards I have contingency plans: a) use a Primark t shirt as a base instead or b) just do the shirtless version... it's been years and a few extra cup sizes since I last attempted open shirt binding but occasionally I relish a (masochistic) challenge!

(Also discovered that mens' wetlook jeans are not currently a thing so Chrollo's gonna have some very tight pants YOLO)

Sculpted the tops of the earrings using Milliput ultrafine. I hate sculpting and am terrible at it so this made me sad. I'll see how they look when dry and painted.

Also started working on the wig. I bought a cheap second hand lace front from eBay, but it was a graduated bob style, so I've cut it to an even length and started using hair curlers to get it to flick out instead of in, and to train it to slick back. It'll still need some product to keep it in place but that will come once I've finished the tong work.

Because Chrollo's coat is quite flared, I've used a Vogue women's coat pattern to get the nip at the waist and so there's no waist seam. It's worn open and clearly wouldn't close at the front, so rather than use the front piece of the pattern I've extended the front side upwards to the shoulder. Having tacked in the sleeve, this is now fitting slightly strangely at the front so needs a few more tweaks but I'm happy to make those on the actual fabric rather than the toile.

After discussing with various pals I decided to use fur for the collar and cuffs (I was also considering feather trim), but will probably make some attempts to style it into spikes if there's time. Getting it to stand properly will probably be a task and half!

I'm intending to make the book as well. I have a paper maché book designed for decoupage that I got ages ago as a possible locked room prop, but using it for Chrollo will let me keep stuff like wallet etc in it as it's hollow.

Need to pick up some cheap men's trousers to modify.

Those earrings, man. They'd be a lot easier if I had separated earlobes but I don't. I've bought some green aventurine orbs to use and I'm hoping they won't be insanely heavy hanging from my lobes!

Monstered the tunic/smock/dress/whatever the hell that is on Sunday after being ill on Saturday, and actually managed to get it finished, plus setting the last eyelets in the doublet. It doesn't fit my mannequin as well as it does me! The belt is made from scratch but needs extending, Brienne's belt was clearly made from a gigantic cow because mine is already the full length of a hide I had in. I'm also doing the embroidered sigil for the front of the tunic/s/d/wthti because I want to practise embroidery, it's coming together much faster than I expected :3

Brienne's tunic/dress/whatever that is has a diamond pattern woven into the fabric. Obviously, I was hugely unlikely to find the same fabric, but I kind of wanted to get that texture in somehow, so I bought plain blue linen and am stamping a diamond pattern onto it.

Although my own hair is the right length for Brienne, it's currently bright blue and I'm trying to grow it out a little, so when Arda Wigs had a sale I purchased one of their Cady lace fronts.

Here it is after cutting and some quick styling. I felt kind of bad that I'd bought this lovely thick wig and then spent an hour razor combing it to try and make it look a bit fine and stringy like Brienne's hair.

Apologies for the weird looking head, I was using my partner's head cast and he'd been sculpting and casting prosthetics with it!

The foil thread is the bane of my life. The crochet is eating through it waaaaay too quickly, I've spent over £100 on the stuff already.

I haven't even ordered the wig or the casting supplies for the belt yet.

So much money ;____________________;

So, I crocheted the skirt, and when it was done, it was clear that it was completely wrong. Hours of work down the drain, though thankfully not a waste of materials - I can either attempt to use it for one of the sleeves, or unravel the whole shebang and reuse the yarn.

Restarted the skirt using much smaller mesh (5 stitches per loop instead of 10) and adding in extra volume. Looks much more promising so far.

I am pretty unhappy about how quickly I'm getting through the foil thread though. Already gone through 10 rolls and there's so much more to do. I wasn't expecting one type of yarn to cost more than 1200 beetle wings!

Speaking of beetle wings... bit of a saga. I never received the first batch I ordered from eBay, and I'm still waiting for my offered refund, which I could really do with as £63 would be pretty handy around Christmas. I went to a seller on Etsy instead, and received the wings 2 weeks later. Much better! Photo does not do them any kind of justice, they are incredibly beautiful and shimmery.

Was happily crocheting away at the skirt last night when I noticed something wasn't quite right. It had formed a twist in the loop. I was too far in to really want to unravel it all or start again, so I had to carefully cut, untwist and re-knot the chains. Really hoping the knots hold...

Having mastered single crochet stitch, made a snood, learned an awful lot from making a snood, tested chain mesh stitch, and mastered chain mesh stitch, I'm starting on the real deal (scary stuff...)

I decided to begin with the chain mesh stitch on the skirt, as I still need to do some patterning work on the dress bodice before I can work out what shape the bodice crochet will need to be. Since I couldn't find foiled yarn in the right colour, I'm combining yarn and decorative foil thread to get the bling in there.

I am STILL waiting for my beetle wings. I am paranoid that work has sent them back, or that HMRC have destroyed them. Since they're the most expensive aspect I really hope they turn up ;_______;

I wrote up an estimated timeline for getting this done. It's going to take around 6 months... started patterning last night and will begin crocheting once my practice crochet snood is finished.

I was originally going to use my own hair for this costume, but then I went into a daze as the hairdresser was cutting my hair and he took it too short for Nastasha (it's super-cute though!).

Thankfully, Laughing Beauty has a similar blonde bowl-cut kinda hairstyle, so I took the cables out of her wig and will be using that.

You may notice that journal entries halted about two weeks before the event. This is because the sewing machine chose that well-timed point to finally break. It turns out that the white fabric I was using was some kind of bloody Kevlar or suchlike, and the machine had bravely soldiered on until it just couldn't deal with it any more, and the spare machines we had wouldn't even touch the stuff.

So for two weeks, I wrecked my fingers and thumbs on both hands by hand sewing everything that should have been machined. The delay this caused meant I couldn't finish a number of parts of the costume, though it was pretty much done - I had the cloak patterned out, but couldn't make it, and certain lacing strips were missing, and I didn't have the time to get the collar to fit better. There's also more styling I'd like to do on the wig, having now seen it, and I want to take more time on the makeup to contour my face to be more like hers.

The Boss is a character that means a great deal to me, so all of these things are going to be done for the future.

Oh yes. The rivets. I ordered new rivets, but they weren't in stock, so they sent me "equivalent" double cap rivets. That didn't fit through the boot hook holes. I was about ready to spit fire on this and was just gearing myself up to hand sew in all of the boot hooks when TheKillingDoll, in his infinite kindness, took out the Dremel and enlarged all of the boot hook holes for me (I would have done it myself, but I was having a shaky-hands day). Given that there were at least 70 of these, his generous gesture needs acknowledging here.

I've been working on this steadily, but lost a bunch of progress photos when I apparently threw my phone in the canteen bin.
Anyway, this is a piece I'm quite excited about. I'm not generally much of a props person; I prefer fabric and leatherwork and I tend to be a bit intimidated by props. But I was determined to make the Boss's knife myself, especially so that I can custom fit the sheath to it.
It's made of Sintra/Foamex. I printed a picture of the knife, scaled to fit my teeny tiny hands, and taped it to the Sintra so I could cut it exactly to shape. I cut it out with a Stanley knife, and then used the drill and sanding wheel attachments of a Dremel tool to add in the detailing. This picture is horrible, so you can't really see it, but the blade is angled on both sides. It still needs a little bit more sanding to even things out, and then I can paint it and wrap the cord around the handle.

I just finished sewing a pair of hand-sewn, custom-sized, fully lined white lambskin leather gloves. I'm proud of them! But now I have to stick straps and a palm patch on them, and I sort of don't want to :(

The rivets I bought have posts that are too fat to fit through the holes in the boot eyelets >:O

The spare small rivets I had lying around fit through, but I only had 8 of them. So I've used those and ordered more of them, which are asspensive as I have to get them from Tandy rather than eBay and Tandy shipping charges are a beast. (I ordered a random kitten stamp and some more leather stitching gear to justify the shipping, I'd better stick with this leathercraft stuff)

The white section of the Boss's suit features flat-felled princess seams and a high collar with no collar seam, as well as laced-up sides and a laced back panel. All this on stretch fabric. It's going to take some serious pattern-Frankensteining.

If I ever meet Yoji Shinkawa again I might just be tempted to punch him in the face.

The sewing part of the weekend was mainly spent sewing all the ribbing on the undersuit. It took about 5-6 hours, I'd estimate. I've noticed that few to no Boss cosplayers have bothered with the ribbing (there may be some, but none of the images I found had it, even Omi Gibson's) so it was a nod to accuracy that I really wanted to make. (It may be because most did it before the HD pics and figure were released, it's less obvious though still present in-game)
It was all sewn using a 1.5/0.5 zigzag stitch because I needed it to retain some stretch, especially since the fabric's only 2-way stretch and I needed the stretch more horizontally than vertically.

Next up is the gloves, which I'm being so anal about I'm actually lining them.

I spent 90 minutes today drawing the lines for the ribbing on the undersuit.

OH BOY I SURE CAN'T WAIT TO SEW THOSE

NOPE Real leather all the way.

Look, I just really like real leather. I want my costume to smell good.

Metal Gear costumes are really bloody expensive.

Holy hell Ayacon is getting to be a bit soon. Time to step up work on this.

I mulled over the reference issue some more, as the Hot Toys figure is clearly based on the 3DS renders which have differences to the boots, lacing colour, belt colour and fabric style. I'm still sticking with in-game references for the silver and white fabrics, but using the figure and renders as the primary references because they are much easier to use as reference, especially the figure.
That means new boots >_> but this costume means a lot to me and is a competition entry so I'm sucking that up. The new boots look less shiny as well (online at least) which I'd prefer. I'll have to cut them down, but hey ho.

This is going to be another MyM diary, so most of my progress pictures and journals will be going in there, but I'll put a few bits up here as well.

I also started on the cape. It's a low priority piece, but I'm waiting for access to patterns so I can't work on the main suit just yet. Just a basic circle with another circle cut out for the head/neck. I may have cut the neckhole too large, but I think I've enough ripstop to cut another if need be, and I can use the old piece to make the hood.

Work on this for me isn't actually going to be that complicated (thank goodness). Mike has offered to sort out his own belts/harness, boots, contacts etc, so all I've had to do is get a boiler suit which I'm going to camo-paint. The Fear's camo pattern is quite odd, more streaks than patches, but it should actually be a bit easier to do that way. I guess it's meant to look like spider webs as it's called "Spider camo".

The boiler suit is a slightly brighter green than I wanted, so I'll compare it to references and see if I want to dye it a bit darker. Thankfully it's cotton so regular hand dye will be fine.

Ocelot's dry run at Minami went exceedingly well! Minor issues were identified, mostly to do with the holster fit/angles and belts, so I'll work on those for later wears. Initially I tried using a wig on TheKillingDoll but it turned out his hair worked much better, despite being a bit too dark (light brown rather than blond), so may see if I can convince him into a small bleach job for Ayacon.

In general, very happy with how it turned out, and also UNF

I pretty much only put this costume together so I could cosplay with TheKillingDoll's Ocelot at Minami, although NakedSalad will be borrowing it for the group at Ayacon. I wasn't at all happy with how it looked on me and considered never wearing it again, but on looking at photos I think I've identified where the issues lie and they can be improved.

Whether I wear it again or not, it will need taking in for Rosie to wear it. I made no alterations to the flight suit for this iteration and it was far, far too baggy. Looking at the reference again, while the style of the suit is correct, EVA's is actually quite close-fitted to her body, so I'll be taking in the seams to match that.

Secondly, the wig didn't work. It was a trimmed wig I had in storage because I was trying to keep costs down, but it was much too pale (EVA is more a mid-dark blonde) and the style didn't suit my face shape at all. A wig with more layers and a darker shade needed.

Thirdly, I need to lose a little more weight and possibly have more of a tan... the exposed belly parts looked a bit pale and flabby.

Fourthly, need to spend more time on makeup so I resemble her more facially. The Boss has my face shape, EVA doesn't.

Finally, I might get a new bra. The one I used was an old one (again, keeping costs down) which I bought when I was four cup sizes smaller... amazingly enough the fit wasn't too great!

It's *possible* I will rewear it for May Expo, so we'll see how the improvements go.

Ocelot's going to make an appearance at Minami, because I was sensible and started him early. My first forays into leatherworking have gone quite well, the shoulder catridge belt is essentially done short of deciding to dye it or just oil it and the holsters are cut ready to be sewn up. It's all real leather, 8-10oz saddle tan, and I've enjoyed working with it :) I have a few photos I'll put up later.

Currently tearing my hair out over the small details like the collar tabs, medals, ribbon bar etc... everything else is just about done.

Drowning the Ocelot didn't work, so I boiled it to death. AKA, redyed the breeches using iDye Poly whilst furiously praying it would work. Welp, 1 packet has made them a very, very dark grey, which would do in a pinch - but I bought extra, so I'll probably give them another round. Hurrah!

Unfortunately, there is absolutely no way the jacket will fit in my dye pot, so I need to get a bigger one :(

Also did more research and discovered that the holster I was planning on getting is only part of the costume when he's using the Makarov, and I'm making the SAA version. So no, I can't just buy the holster. Instead I have to make TWO cartridge belts, AND two Heiser-style holsters. Yaaaaaaaaay. Learn ALL the leathercraft. Buy ALL the leather. Spend ALL the money.

Just ordered the wig. I've used this wig before (unfortunately, it ended up brown and green, so I can't re-use the old one!) so I know exactly what I'm getting. It needed to be a lace front because the Boss wears her hair swept back, and I know it will be a nice natural looking blonde. It will need a trim but not much else :)

(on the boots saga, I noticed that the renders for the 3DS version of MGS3 actually have her wearing 12-hole boots, as well as the silver fabric looking like a plain mirror-shine foil instead of more textured. Well damn it >:( That would have been much easier. I am using the in-game footage and original renders as my reference because I like the swirly silver better.)

AKA why couldn't I crush on Raikov instead, would have cost a fraction...

The last things I need to get are another belt and two holsters, plus whatever pouches are on the SB belt (need to check refs). Can't spin guns if you've nowhere to put them. Apparently Colt holsters aren't common gear in the UK so it may need to be import time, yay for shipping costing as much as the item :(

EDIT: LIES I NEED TO ORDER THE BULLETS AS WELL GODDAMN IT

SOMEONE was very keen on having the cartridge belt, so what the hey, guess it's time to learn leatherworking.

I was looking at belt blanks on a leathercrafting site, but they were all undyed and frankly I didn't fancy dyeing leather as WELL. Instead I went to Camden yesterday, where there's a custom belt-making place that will cut belt leather of your choice and put on a buckle for you for an individual belt. It took some explaining that I only wanted the leather strips and not for them to make a whole belt, but I got there in the end. It's pre-dyed, saving some time, and frankly not much more expensive than the undyed blanks would have been.

The pattern assumes moderate expertise, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

I won't include the cost of the tools I'll need to buy in with this costume as they'll be used elsewhere (and also it will make me cry).

Got some boots.

The Boss's boots have 9 lace holes in them. No boots available for sale have 9 holes. This is nonsense. So I bought 8-hole boots. They still need some editing; I've already taken off the loops at the back, but the black trim on the top needs removing.

I've also bought nearly all the fabric. The silvery stuff is foil dot rather than just foil, which I'd have preferred, but the swirl effect on it is so perfect that I went with it anyway. It's only 2-way stretch as well, which will make life fun. The white fabric is a thick stretch fabric. All that remains fabric-wise is the stuff for the knee support, which will probably be neoprene.

Since I'm learning leatherworking for the Ocelot bandolier I may as well use it for the Boss's knife holster as well (she says).

The only bit I'm really not sure about is the metal pieces. Pretty much any wire I can easily form myself is going to bend out of shape with any movements I make, so I'll need to find a solution that won't warp or snap.

Tried to dye the uniform with Dylon Hand Dye in the hope that it was cotton or wool. Apparently it is not natural fibre, because it took up absolutely zero dye (save for the jacket lining, which I would have assumed was polyester?!).

Have ordered iDye and will pray it doesn't shrink in the dyeing process...

This costume is proving harder than I thought to put together. It's not accurate to any historical uniform (except the beret) and there are no visible fasteners on the jacket! I'm adapting an East German uniform as screw patterning breeches like that so I'll have to decide if I want to use black buttons instead or find some other fastening method.

Playing MGS3 on the 3DS has given me ALL THE BOSS FEELS.
I'm also now old enough to feel like I can pull her off properly... I've wanted to do this costume for years but I think I'm only now fit and mature enough to do it justice.
And I FINALLY found a silver fabric that I like. Plain silver just doesn't look like the in-game art to me, there's a texture/pattern to it in my eyes. I've been keeping an eye out for ages. Fate has supplied.

DING DING Boss you're up.

It just so happens that I've preordered the 1/6th model from Hot Toys. Useful reference you say? Why thank you!

Essentially finished, though there are improvements that I could make. I'm really not happy with the hand sections of the gloves at all, and I'm iffy about the collar of the shirt, but there isn't time to fix that right now.

Also bought a ton of new makeup as I discovered the lipstick I had planned to use has become very hard and cakey - it's years old so should probably be chucked anyway!

The outfit is pretty much together now and I'm starting to hate everything about it ;_____;

Tried to put in the lining, discovered I'd cut it wrong. Make new lining, put it in, it hangs wrong. UNPICK LINING, HANG IT ON MANNEQUIN, SPEND HOURS TACKING IT ON, STILL HANGS SKEWY FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF

But it hangs OK when the ruffle shirt is under it, which I guess is what matters. Got to redo the bias on that and then the cutouts.

I also very nearly irreparably screwed up one of the gloves. It's salvaged. I hope.

Hate the shirt collar, going to tweak it again.

Coat makes me look fat.

Not sure I have the requisite ribbon for the side and arm lacing.

... I like the trousers? What's the betting that my thighs have levelled up too much for them to fit...

To do: decorate & sew fingers, sew gloves, sew fingers to gloves
Bias on coat & cutouts
Fasteners
Fix shirt collar
More layers of paint on the shoes
Jabot fasteners

Sleeves are in, done as much beading as I can stand (everything visible on the design is done, and have done some on the back to make sure it's in keeping), now it's lining time.

I tried the "invisible stitching" method but it was just too difficult to do it with such slippery satin. Instead I am going for the tiniest, evenest slipstitching I can manage. It's unnoticeable enough to satisfy me.

So it turns out I didn't need to order that extra thread >_< but I did need the beads. If I add up the stuff I bought but haven't used, like overbuying the satin (closer inspection showed black lining, so I have spare bronze), bondaweb and thread, it makes the costume about £30 cheaper, but I still spent that money... guess the stuff will get used elsewhere though!

I was fretting about the applique on the lapels. It's on the lining/facing, and since I'm putting in the lining by using the bias binding, and the applique is ON TOP of the bias binding, it was going to be incredibly awkward to attempt to applique that part-way through adding the lining. It's already been hard enough trying to applique stuff on to the coat because there's so much fabric involved.

But! I had a stroke of inspiration yesterday. Instead of trying all that faff, I decided to applique the circles onto a scrap of black satin, ironed bondaweb to the scrap, and carefully cut out the circles. I can then iron these on top of the lining/bias, with some hand-stitching to keep it fully in place. Hopefully it will be convincing, and it allowed me to get much neater applique this way too.

Final beading today and tomorrow, plus putting in the sleeves, then it's lining (+ buttons), fasteners, lacing, jabot, gloves and shoes. All handwork except the sleeves.

Still plenty to do, but it's the home straight now! Need to finish the beading (for which I have to wait for more beads to be delivered as the local shop was out), finish off the applique - the last bits of which are going to be REALLY AWKWARD as they're on the lining (I may have thought of a way to cheat on this though) - and the buttons, put in the sleeves, put in the lining, do the lacing sections, sort out the fastenings and then do the shoes and gloves. And make another costume, ho ho ho.

Kind of love my sleeves... they're very Blackadder.

Have finished the shirt, for now. I'm not 100% happy with the collar yet so if there's time I may rework that. I've put wire into it so that it stands better but I'm a bit iffy about the front.

Weighed the shirt again. 3.5kg. If I am grumpy when wearing this costume it's because it weighs a bloody ton!

I'm a bit behind, I meant to get the coat sleeves done this weekend but had to go out on Saturday. Will have to work extra hard during the week, particularly since I spotted a couple of bits of applique I'd missed on the coat.

I weighed the shirt last night after pinning on the 4th ruffle layer. It weighs 2 kilograms. That's before the final layer, the collar and cuffs.

And that's just the SHIRT.

Used half a can of spray starch on the collar and it's had virtually no effect. I'm not impressed :(

The collar of the coat will hold up the shirt collar to a certain extent, but it still looks a touch floppy for my taste, so I'm probably going to put some concealed wire in there. Not ideal, but hey.

I was working on the sleeves last night and... the design doesn't physically make sense without bizarre curves and holes and... just no. Basically, the dude's arms bend and twist in ways that human beings don't, even hypermobile human beings like me (trust me, I spent about half an hour doing crazy things with my elbow that would make most people wince, and it just didn't work).

So I am sacrificing some small points of accuracy in order to make the design actually make sense on a human body.

Completed the applique on the coat, needs beads, buttons and embroidery now. You can see bits of sleeve in the background too. I've actually put toy stuffing in the puff sleeves to make them stand out, now they are fun and squidgy XD

This costume is eating thread like there's no tomorrow, and the thread I'm using for the coat only comes on 100m rolls. I just had to order 10 of them...

Spent about 4 hours making bias binding yesterday. Burned myself with the iron again. FML

I have discovered that I may actually have enough of the bronze satin to line the coat; I thought I'd use up a lot more of it for the bias than I did. So that might knock the final cost down - I'll use the black stuff for other projects :3 I always wanted to line it in bronze but I ended up buying the shop completely out of the bronze satin and they can't get any more in that shade. Hopefully there's enough!

As it turns out, my calculations for the strips to ruffle were far too generous and have left me with strips double the length. On the downside, it means I wasted time on some of the hemming. On the upside, it means I don't have to bother with ruffling the final strip as I easily have enough with what I've already done! And I'll have a few ruffles kicking about spare if I fancy putting them on an original design somewhere :3

Now on to sewing the ruffle strips onto the shirt. I'm doing this by hand due to the thicknesses of fabric involved, so it's a lunchbreak job!

Rolled all my hems, now I'm ruffling them. Due to LFCC this past weekend (going one day, being wiped out from it the next, yay M.E.) I haven't managed to ruffle all the strips as planned, but I've done 3 of the 5 and ironed out the 4th. Because the ruffles are double-layered I'm doing it by folding the fabric in half, but this means pressing the whole strip in half so it's a) neat and b) obvious where the centre is so I can feed it into the ruffler foot properly.

That said, I am SO pleased with how the ruffles are coming out. Using vast quantities of fabric was the right way to go, even if it did cost a fortune and take an age to hem. It will mean that it's probably the heaviest single item of clothing I've ever worn, that much fabric weighs quite a bit...

The collar and cuff ruffles are also done. I still need to work out how to make the collar stand up best. I've ordered spray starch to try that and I'm really hoping it will work nicely.

How did this costume get so freaking expensive?! OK, I guess a fair chunk of it was on the shoes, but still ;_________;

Bought more crepe for ruffles, black satin to line. I'm really hoping that's the last of the expenses now save probably some more thread.

I'm still rolling those hems. It seems to take about an hour to do one strip of fabric, have done three so far out of the total five (and a half, counting collars and cuffs). Honestly though, the most annoying part has been folding and cutting the fabric to get strips that length and reasonably even. Ugh!

Spent a fair amount of time yesterday doing maths to work out exactly how much fabric I needed to cut to make the appropriate amount of ruffles. Maths is far from my favourite thing to do :( Especially when it means ending up having to cut 13m strips of fabric.

On a related note, everyone mocked me for buying 20m of fabric for the ruffles, saying it was excessive. Well ya know what? IT ISN'T ENOUGH. I'm double layering the ruffles, and putting them on both the front and back of the shirt, for fullness, and I only had enough fabric to cut the strips for 3 layers when I need 5. That's me going to buy another 15m of fabric then. This costume is more expensive than Laughing Octopus!

I also wish to note that rolling the hems on 13m strips of fabric is beyond tedious, as is cutting 13m strips of fabric for that matter. I'm starting to miss applique - good job there's a load more of that to do. And cutting and ironing bias.

Why did I pick this costume again? Oh yeah, because it's so damn pretty...

Done a couple of things today, firstly spray-painting the buttons so they're a closer match to the satin, and secondly making up the base shirt for the ruffles.

The shirt is constructed from the same pattern as the coat, using the white crepe, but rather than the tailcoat shape I cut the coat into I've left the pattern the same except for cutting the front panels to waist length. This leaves me with a half/three-quarter "skirt" onto which I'll sew the ruffles.
Because the crepe frays quite badly, it was necessary to seal off the edges of each piece somehow to keep it from unravelling too much. I had a choice of methods - our sewing machine has an overcasting stitch, and I also had the rolled-hem foot that I purchased for hemming the ends of the ruffles. I chose to roll the edges in preference to overcasting, because it uses less thread, takes less time and I also wanted to get more practice in using the foot before using it for the ruffle edges, which will be visible (unlike the inner seams). Each edge of the white shirt now has a tidy rolled hem which will keep it from fraying!

The shirt is all sewn up save for the cuffs and collar, which will be ruffled, the ruffles on the skirt section, and the front fastening. I'm not sure what kind of fastening to use on the front yet. As it won't be visible I can use pretty much anything, but I want something that's both comfortable and will lie quite flat. Poppers seem a sensible choice so I may go with those.

I also measured the length of the fabric before and after ruffling, so I can cut the strips to the right length.

Broke £250. Oh well.

I used up an entire 1000m roll of thread on the applique for the trousers alone, so I was forced to buy more thread. It's not a 100% match, though it's very close, and Cosplex has offered to send me her roll which is a match. I had sewn up the trousers before realising I'd forgotten 2 lines of satin stitching (d'oh) so was forced to take them apart and redo it, with the new thread - however once I get the thread from Lex I am likely to redo those lines once again just so it's a perfect match all over.

Trousers need the waistband facing stitching in and hemming, which I plan to do with bias binding once I've made it all, then are pretty much complete save a few buttons & beads.

Grabbed some seed beads and embroidery floss along with the thread, which will be added somewhere for a touch of extra bling.

Coat base cut and sewn up, still the sleeves to finish patterning and make.

Making use of my lunchbreaks at work again to do some hand-sewing. At the moment I'm sewing the beads onto the completed trouser leg, but have encountered a snag with the buttons - they're just too disparate in colour from the trim. If I hadn't done so much applique already I'd consider buying more fabric in a less red-toned bronze and more of an old gold colour, but it's too late for that now - will be spray-painting the buttons to a more bronze colour instead.

I've completed the applique on one trouser leg and made a start on the second. Stupidly I ironed all the pieces onto the second leg before remembering that I'd done some parts in layers on the first... *facepalm* it's not an insurmountable problem, it just requires a lot more care on those sections as I attempt to retain the illusion of layering.

Trying to get things symmetrical has been the hardest part, mostly with regard to the natural taper of the leg but also because of seam placement. I can't applique onto the fully sewn-up trouser because when it's sewn up it's impossible to put through the machine correctly, so as a compromise I've half-sewn the legs and will have a seam on the inside. Trying to make sure everything lines up for this seam has been nightmarish.

The large band across the thigh is also removing all stretch from that area, so I need to make sure my thighs don't get any bigger >_<

I decided to pause on patterning the coat for a bit because I have some new ideas about length and style at the back. Instead I've been working on the trousers as if I can get them finished fairly soon I'll have a complete piece of the costume, which is always a good inspiration to get cracking on the rest.

There is SO MUCH applique on this costume it's mad. I did a test piece to check what stitch settings I wanted for the satin stitching, tweaked them until I was happy, and then began...

Whilst I've done applique before, it was generally either simpler or somewhat rushed. As this is a competition entry I wanted to take my time and get it nice and neat. Unfortunately I chose a costume that involves a lot of small circle designs D: These take ages to get tidy and there's at least 40 to do. However, I am quite pleased with how it's come out.

Of course, some of the straight lines, which should be easy, have come out less well... but I can redo those if necessary.

About 50% done on one trouser leg, depending on how I design the back.

There's a Street Fighter x Tekken group at Expo this Sunday, so by request I am bringing Cammy out again. However I have made (and am still making) improvements to it.

First up, I've finally converted the leotard to a proper thong instead of half-assing it (pun intended). I'll be self-conscious but accurate. I may wear two pairs of tights just to be safe.

Second, new tights. The old ones got a run in them, and I was never totally happy with the camo anyway. I've gone for a much streakier look, taking SFIV as my inspiration. I'm much happier with it, it's still not perfect but I think it looks much more like it would in real life.

Third, new wig. The old wig was not good quality, had a crappy fringe I always had to hide under the beret, and was a bit too platinum for my taste. The new wig is a darker blonde - it's darker than I really wanted, but choice in that length was VERY limited. It's quite a nice natural colour though and camera flash should lighten it up a bit. The pigtails are much smoother as it's far better quality, and the front streak should look better too. If I get time I'll add some clips in so I can do good poses without worrying about it falling off.

Fourth, scar. Previously I've just painted the scar on with acrylics, which was fine for a cartoony sort of look, but I want something a bit more natural. I've bought some rigid collodion, which is a theatrical scarring liquid that pinches the skin to look like scar tissue.

Depending on how much time I have, I will also attempt to improve the leotard badge, make the beret badge, and make the boot toppers.

Decided to stick up a few updates in slightly less formal language than the articles :3

The instructions that came with the ruffler foot were not exactly comprehensive (missing out one fairly vital instruction in particular), and this was compounded by the fact that they were written in mild Engrish and made reference to "the blue part" when nothing on the foot is blue. Helpful.

However, via trial, error, and a lot of sitting at the sewing machine going "HOW DOES IT WOOOOOOOOOORK" I eventually managed to figure it out. I made ruffles! This is just a test shot of the arcane torture instrument and its results. Yay ruffles. I think I'm probably going to have to have several single layers of ruffles in each row to get really good fullness, so it's going to see a lot of work.

I also mocked up the coat and trousers. When I did the trousers I was moaning about the lack of movement they allowed - cigarette pants are not known for their mobility - but when I started cutting the velvet I realised I'd inadvertently (or possibly by design... my memory is that bad that I can't remember) bought velvet with a 2-way stretch. Gets! I'll be able to bend my knees more than a 120 degree angle!

Waistcoat remade! I used a thick white stretch cotton, patterning off the original waistcoat. It's fully lined with the same fabric so it will keep its structure and be a bit more resilient. Ironing it to make sure the points are pointy enough wasn't the most fun thing in the world, but the bonus of lining in the same fabric is that it doesn't matter so much if it shows.

The next project will probably be the wig, though as it's a pre-styled ponytail and bun attachment the only real styling I need to do is on the fringe.

Finally, I plan on taking the skirt section off the dress, darting and taking in the top section heavily, and then resewing the skirt section with some pleats to allow for the excess fabric. I'll also replace the buttons that went missing - seems the black thread I used was poor quality and broke on the buttons as well as separating on the back of the dress.

For anyone who's keeping an eye on this costume and hoping for updates - I may not be using the journal function as I'm hopefully going to be tracking my progress via a series of articles available elsewhere. I might do a few, and do a series of backdated entries when the costume is finished.

Bought a pair of New Look boots on eBay - amusingly enough exactly the same as my SCV Ivy boots, just in red, so at least I knew they'd fit!

They're originally folded over at the top, but unfolding them still looks fine. I cut out a chunk from the front and hand sewed bias binding around them. I discovered after the first boot that I didn't have enough of the bias for the second, so I had to butcher Phil's Patroclus costume to get more :P

Once I've added the tab straps, the costume will pretty much be done. It's missing small details and I haven't done the jacket or gloves, but hopefully it will still be recognisable.

I bought fabric and started patterning the leotard, and then I get an email with the tracking number for the suit set... typical. On the upside, it saves me making the glove. It's arrived now, have made up the boots just need to finish altering the leotard. I accidentally cut it a bit too far in the back, but I'll be wearing dance tights and fishnets which should mitigate the eye-bleeding.

I can also use the spare fabric to make up the shawl she throws off just before you fight her, so it's not a total loss... I really don't know what else I'd use electric blue foil lycra for...

Just getting over a lousy week of the 'flu, and finding myself with insufficient time remaining to finish all my Minami costumes. As Saki has the most work remaining, even with the hakama commissioned, she's getting the bump once again. That's the second year of breaking the Shadow Hearts/Minami tradition :( but I'm simply not well enough to push myself to finish.

Likely to be worn at May Expo instead.

I normally topstitch my bias binding (in all honesty, I use the "cheat" method, just folding it over the edge and stitching it once) but for this costume I thought I'd give the "invisible stitch" method a try, where you machine stitch the inside of the bias to the outside of the fabric and then slipstitch the folded bias to the inside.

Frankly, for the extra effort it takes, I'm not terribly keen on it. The stitchless look is nice, but I don't like the look of the slipstitching on the inside and it's fiddly, tedious work. I'll probably go back to topstitching but stop being a lazy sod and do the two-step version with stitching the inside of the bias as well.

The suit/stockings/gloves set I ordered to alter for this costume haven't arrived yet, and to be honest I think the company was a bit sketchy anyway... an error in judgement on my part. Shall have to chase that cash up.

Will be buying fabric to make this from scratch instead. I can pattern off my Cammy leotard.

Skit also in the works.

Kimono need lots of fabric. Even shorter ones to wear with hakama that don't have full length furisode sleeves. Learn from my error, children. 2 metres won't cut it >_<

I need to buy other fabric anyway, so it's a trip to the shops for me.

EDIT: 2 more metres bought, for a total of 5m. Goddamn kimono.

The hakama have arrived from Neomogrox and they're fabulous :D Now I need to get cracking on the kimono! I'll probably try to get Excellen done first, but now that I have the hakama I definitely need to get Saki finished.

Hastiest photoshoot ever, no time to get poses etc. particularly good, jewellery all over the place, but it's basically done. Improvements & semi decent photos forthcoming in the future.

Gah. Bit too close to the wire really.

Forgot to pick up the earrings to work on this weekend... if I manage those they'll have to be a last minute job.

I'm also unable to work on the sword this weekend, it would have required taking too much stuff down to my parents'. All the blade pieces have been made up, but they need painting and threading on to the whip and the entire handle needs making. Depending on what time I get home on Sunday I might be able to make something up, but if I do it'll be right down to the wire on the deadline!

Thankfully the outfit itself is very nearly finished, just the fur cuffs to sew on and the buckle straps to finish and put onto the back. There's also a small fur detail on the back I may add.

Since I've made a lot of progress on the suit, I've made the (probably deeply foolish) decision to also attempt the sword. Ivy's sword is such an iconic part of her character design that I'd really like to have it to pose with.

After discussion with TheKillingDoll, we decided that the most sensible material to use given the time constraints would probably be card. I was thinking about some form of foam but that would need sealing with several layers before painting, and since I'm so pushed for time and not home most of the weekend that isn't really practical.

Instead, at his suggestion, I've decided to use card. It will be easy to paint, lightweight, and require little preparation.

We also decided that the whip form of the sword is much more recognisable. For the whip centre I've bought a sink unblocker from Wickes. I went in with the intention of getting a shower hose, but they were all too fat and far too expensive. However, the sink unblocker was a good length, the right diameter, and looked very similar, as well as being half the price of the cheapest shower hose.
I'm also planning to run strong garden wire through it so that the sword is posable.

I spent (again with consultation) about an hour working out the shape I needed to cut from the card to make the blade sections as 3D forms. Since maths/physics/geometry is far from my strong suit this was a challenge, but I eventually managed to work it out to my satisfaction (pic) and have cut all the card pieces. I'll be scoring them today and hopefully will be able to glue some, if not all of them tonight.

Since I won't be home from Friday morning, I'll probably have to paint the whole thing with acrylics rather than spray as I can do that when I have some time at my parents'.

Sewed up and stuffed the collar last night. With the stuffing in it looks much fuller and more plush - I just have to make sure I give the fur a bit of a brush before taking photos. I'm very happy with how it looks, I just have to try it on again to make sure it's still decent! I'll probably tape some PVC to myself underneath the suit just to make extra sure nothing becomes accidentally visible.
All that remains to do on the suit itself are the fur wrist and leg cuffs and the buckles on the back of the swimsuit. I'll make those up today ready to sew on. They don't need to be functional, which is helpful.

Right! I finally did the last leg stripes last night (as per picture - check out mah bumblebee legs), and that allowed me to put the suit on again and pin up the swimsuit and collar fur. Thank goodness for the collar fur - because of the limited stretch of the PVC, the front has pulled further open than it should have done, but the fur keeps things "decent".

I sewed up some of it last night and hopefully will be able to do the rest at lunch today and tonight, when I'll put some padding in to make the fur look fuller. The fur cuffs and swimsuit back buckles will also be lunchbreak jobs, shouldn't take long at all. I *may* have a bash at making up the sword - if I can cut and glue the pieces and do the basic spray job over the next few evenings, I can put it together and do the detail work in my spare time when I'm with family this weekend. The outfit is obviously the priority as there's no point having a funky weapon when you have no clothes!

I'll never make a fursuiter. I have discovered that I am in no way a fan of working with fake fur. I keep finding bits of it in my mouth and nose!

Two of the small fur stripes left to do on the legs, incorporating the final PVC stripe as well. The rest have been slipstitched on by hand both to keep some stretch and also to keep the stitching as invisible as possible. Some of it could be tidier but I'm rushing a bit to catch the deadline D: I can always restitch it if I have time.

I also encountered a problem with what I'll call the "swimsuit", the gold PVC part that goes over the catsuit. The PVC tears pretty easily and I've almost none at all left. Since having a butt on the generous side is something of a prerequisite for an Ivy cosplayer, getting it on over said butt was causing a lot of stress on a few areas of the suit and I've already had to repair a couple of small tears. To combat this I've inserted two concealed zips in the side seams to allow me to put it on without my behind upsetting it too much!
The front seam area is still under stress and weak, so I'm going to reinforce it with a scrap of the gold/green leatherette I used to pattern with. It's similar enough in colour and a lot more resilient.

I bought some supplies to make the sword. However, at this point I suspect I won't have the time to make it, as I need to act as a carer for a family member this weekend, meaning I am away from my supplies and equipment. The clothing is the main priority, though I may be able to do some of it in my lunch breaks as it's largely hand-sewing. I will make the sword at some point anyway, as it will go with my previous Ivy costume as well as this one.

Tonight I hope to be able to pattern and possibly stitch and stuff the fur collar, ready to put onto the suit.

The fur I got for this costume isn't the greatest quality, largely in an attempt to keep costs down. The pile is fairly long but not very thick, so it's quite directional (ie doesn't just stick straight up). However, when it's brushed out it does feel quite nice!

Because of the pile length and directionality cutting it isn't as simple as it is for normal fabric, or very thick pile fur. If you just cut a straight line, you end up with blunt-edged fur, which looks really unnatural - a bit like blunt cuts on hair or wigs. It makes it very obvious that it's been cut and makes the fur look very artificial.

To combat this, I've been using a fine comb to comb partings into the fur, and then cutting along the parting. Combing the fur back down again afterwards not only eliminates the blunt-cut look, but also has the advantage of hiding the edge of the fabric, as well as allowing me to get rid of most of the loose fur so the house gets less covered in fur bits.

I'm hand-stitching the fur trim.

Corset... swimsuit... thing...?

Have also started the fur trimming, on which more later.

26m of fabric was insufficient. Now that I have the patterns (they shipped from America so took a while) I realise that I didn't have nearly enough velvet, and I also reconsidered the quantity of bronze satin I'd need since I am making my own bias tape for this costume as well as the other details.
I therefore bought more of each.

At some point soonish I will need to attempt to sketch out the costume as I plan to make it - since this is the only reference image that exists I need to decide on a number of the details as well as draw out a plan for the back of the costume. Leaving it plain would look ridiculous in comparison to the detail on the front but it needs to fit with the rest of the design. It's also a chance to possibly employ some techniques like embroidery.

The more I look at it, the more it seems like the ruffles are actually part of a kind of long-backed shirt worn beneath the coat :/ that would mean lining the coat as well as making the shirt... lots of layers. Still, it's an excuse to finally get around to doing a set of properly lined cuffs.

The shoes should also be arriving today. Those who follow me on Twitter will know I ummed and aahed about these. I found them on eBay and they match the style of the costume perfectly, are the right style and shape to give me a bit of extra leg length/slimness, and are just generally fabulous. However, they were a little expensive (even more so with the customs charge ;_;) and this is a competition costume, so really I want details to be stuff that I've done. But on looking further for another suitable pair, I just couldn't find anything I liked, so I decided to get them and will make some modifications to make them match exactly.

Bought the haboutai.

Anyone need 2m of plum satin?

I really didn't have much of the snakeskin PVC left... took careful patterning and arrangement to keep the stretch in vaguely the right place!

Unfortunately, when doing a character whose physical assets are one of the most defining features, trying to get them accurate is important...

Thankfully Ivy's SCV incarnation seems to have had a boob reduction since SCIV so I'm not worried about trying to drastically increase the size of mine to be more accurate. However, some structure and padding was necessary, because lycra bodysuits (even when worn open) have a flattening effect and the open front also separates them.
Obviously, because of the open front, a normal bra is out of the question. Even one of the bras designed for plunge dresses won't be suitable because the plunge is too deep.
There is a "corset" in the design that has a bra cup to it, so I could get away with inserting something, although the design as it stands isn't going to offer quite the right suppport either. However, it gives me scope to add a little padding and structure.

I took an old underwired bra that was too small for me and cut out the cups. Since it's not going to be placed like a regular bra (which would be visible) one in my current size would be too large, so it's as well that I still had this one. I padded the cups out with some old shoulder pads and have stitched them into the suit at a 90 degree angle to where they would normally sit. This means that the breasts are pushed inwards whilst still getting a little support from the underwiring without any of it being visible.

There's still not a lot of support as there's no strapping to hold them up, so I will probably also employ the taping method used by celebrities when they wear deep plunging outfits. Picture attached.

Got everything I need for the costume now (hopefully). The snake jewellery is a little inaccurate but saves me a great deal of work given the close deadline for the competition.
The fur isn't particularly good quality either, but I intend to pad it out for the collar so it looks fuller, and it has more stretch than the good quality furs so will be easier to do the strips on the legs with. Some careful brushing should make it look OK.
I've made up the base catsuit using Kwik Sew 3052, my usual catsuit pattern. I tailored it to the right tightness around the legs. Because the lycra has slightly limited stretch the open front, where normally there would be a zip, already sits correctly.
I patterned out the leg stripes using some old leatherette with the same level of stretch as the snakeskin PVC. They're not as simple as strips - because they're angled down the leg the shape is actually more of an inverted "v".
The next stage is to pattern the "corset". I'm not sure what to do regarding boobage - she has definite cleavage whereas normally in this style of suit the breasts sit quite far apart. I may need to engineer some form of underwired/padded half-bra into the sides of the suit to push them together.

Who would have thought gold snakeskin lycra/PVC would be so hard to find?

I bought some lycra from ebay. It's a bit more bronze-toned than gold, but it's the best thing available. This will be used to make the main base suit, which is the darker gold, and the lighter gold parts will be added on top. I'll be using my standard Kwik Sew catsuit pattern.

For the lighter gold areas and corsetty part, I'll be using a gold snakeskin PVC. I couldn't find anything completely suitable in Goldhawk Road or on the interwebs, but back when I made Auron I bought a metre of said PVC to use for his belt and it's pretty much ideal. However since I have less than a metre of it left I'll have to be very conservative, though I suppose I could always butcher Auron's belt to get a little more. I'll be mocking up the parts that will be made of this in some old leatherette so I can cut the PVC in the most efficient way. Thankfully reusing fabric in this way keeps me under the £70 budget I set myself for this costume.

I considered trying to make the snake jewellery from scratch but really wasn't sure about the best way to go about it, so I have a quick nose on ebay and found some necklaces that should work for it.

I ummed about which fabric to use for this costume. It looks a bit shiny/sheeny to me, but I didn't want the ZOMGSHINEEEEE of most satins, and I also wanted something with a bit of stretch if I could possibly find it. People suggested lycra but that's a bit TOO stretchy, this costume is slightly tailored but also close-fitting and I didn't really fancy faffing about with interlining things and suchlike.
Shepherd's Bush didn't provide anything I was happy with so I tried eBay, eventually ending up with a red stretch satin. It's not quite a matte satin, but as with most stretch satins it isn't quite as offensively shiny as the regular stuff, so I'm OK with it. From what I understand Excellen is quite a showy character anyway so slightly fancy fabric isn't unsuitable. It also has enough stretch and structure to work with the tailoring of that bodice. Now to find some red power mesh for the neck!

As this is a group costume I'm doing by request rather than familiarity with the series, and since I'm going for fairly simple costumes for Minami as my Ame entry is my main focus for the year, I'm skipping out on the jacket and just going for the skirt/top variation instead. Keeps things cheaper and simpler.

So, obviously I didn't get this done last year for a number of reasons. However I still definitely want to do this costume. I really love Shadow Hearts, Covenant especially, and Saki was a really cool side character whose design I love.

However, I know from last year that I need to be a bit more careful about how much I take on in terms of cosplay, and since I have another complex project for 2012 my other costumes are taking a bit of a backseat to it. Even though Saki is relatively simple, I've still chosen to outsource the making of the hakama to hakama expert Neomogrox and just do the kimono and wig myself to take off some of the pressue. This is a costume for fun, not competition :)

I would start on the kimono but I'm now in two minds about the fabric I got for it. I bought a plum satin as the colour was perfect, with the intention of possibly using the "wrong" side of it so it wasn't obviously satin. However, on my last trip to Shepherd's Bush I actually found a plum silk haboutai which is also the perfect colour AND an authentic material to make kimono from. I didn't buy it at the time but I'm more and more inclined to go back and do so, particularly as I'd like to use silk painting for the designs.

I have been sourcing all of the supplies I need to make this costume. I decided as soon as I chose to make it that it was going to end up being expensive because it's so lush, but I've actually managed to find a couple of bargains that have dropped the price a little.

First of all, the fabrics. I bought no less than 26m of fabric. This has shocked many, but there's reasoning behind it!
4m of black cotton velvet for the coat and trousers. I would have preferred something with a touch of stretch as the trousers are drainpipe style and very tight. Unfortunately, the only fabric I found that I liked, a stretch moleskin that was incredibly soft, only had 2m left on the roll - not nearly enough and I didn't want to use different fabrics for each. So I will just have to make do. I chose cotton velvet as it has the plush texture without being too deep a pile to applique on, and it also doesn't fray like a motherbitch the way silk velvet does. I also wanted something more matt than silk velvet. Velveteen was not an option as I absolutely, utterly hate the way it feels, and have also found that it gums up sewing machine needles.
20m white crepe for the ruffles. I'm aware that this is a vast amount - even the guy in the shop raised his eyebrows - but there's a few reasons behind it. There's a LOT of ruffles on this costume - many layers in the skirt, as well as more ruffles in the sleeves and neck. I have never really done ruffles before so whilst I'm aware that they use a lot of fabric, I don't know precisely how much, and wanted to make absolutely sure I had enough. Since I bought so much, the price was discounted from £2.75p/m to £2.50p/m, meaning that I'm not too bothered about wastage, and I can always use whatever's left over on future projects or as mockup fabric. It's versatile especially as it's white :)
2m bronze coloured satin for the trims and applique. I'll probably need more of it though, but I remember which shop it's from. I'll be making my own bias binding since I want to make sure it all matches exactly. This was very cheap - £2p/m. However it doesn't have quite the obscene shininess of acetate satin, and has quite a nice silky feel. Since it's just for trim and detail, I thought I could get away with satin, and it will also be a nice textural contrast to the velvet.

The image is of the buttons I've ordered. I did a quick count up and from the buttons that are visible, as well as having enough to detail the back so it doesn't look plain in comparison, I'll need quite a lot, so I've bought 250. They're pretty so any spares can be used on other projects.

I've also bought some bronze-coloured freshwater pearls that will end up somewhere on the costume, because I love me some beads and they will add to the lushness and beauty of the costume.

I'm not including the costs of the bias makers in the total as they'll be used for many other projects.

The next step will be to sketch out exactly how I think it all goes together. I'm currently pondering whether to attach the ruffles directly to the coat or to have them on a kind of half-skirted dress worn beneath the coat.

Soooooo... looking at pictures I've decided that I'm not terribly happy with a lot of this. It came out OK but I want to improve it, especially as Mature is such a rare character to see cosplayed.

First up is the wig. This was my first complex wig styling job, putting it up into a ponytail, stubbing, adding the bun etc. I'm proud of my work but the process made the cap smaller so I can't get away with it unless my hair underneath is also blonde. Since I want to dye it purple, new wig beckons.
I've bought an Arda ponytail wig and bun to make my life a lot easier.

Second is the waistcoat. I want it crisper-looking, more fitted, and more robust. I also want a more accurate back as I found a sprite that shows it. The leatherette I used rips really easily and is in fact tearing badly around the buttons as there's a lot of stress there. I have some pure white slight stretch cotton that I plan to use. I can pattern off the original waistcoat as I'm happy with the diamond cutout and neckline.

Third, the dress is THE most unflattering, baggy garment when it's not cinched by the waistcoat. Just for my own happiness I want to improve the fit of the top a bit. Some of the back stitching also inexplicably came apart so I'll fix that too.

THEN and only THEN will it be time for some slaggy secretary shots with Amy-Lou as my Vice <3

OK! Making this was an interesting process as it was made in collaboration with Nomes, who made Crying Beauty. We'd never actually met, having found each other via this very site, so all of the discussions on making it were done via email and PM. Given this I think we did a fantastic job of matching up the suits :)

The first stage was the fabric. This part came down to me - I found wetlook silver and black lycra in Goldhawk Road and sent a picture to Nomes for approval. We agreed it would work so I posted her portion to her. Unfortunately there was no fabric available that would work for the dark grey sections, despite us both looking and ordering several samples from half a dozen different places - all of them were unsuitable. So I decided to try iDye Poly, which I had previously used to dye polyester brocade for Ivy Valentine. Polyester and coated fabrics are both notoriously difficult to dye, and trying to make it black would have been a nightmare, but since the Ivy fabric came out a lovely shade of dark grey with the black dye, I was hoping the same would happen. Fortunately it did, so I bought more of the silver lycra, dyed it, and again sent it over to Nomes.

The next challenge was to find something suitable for the cabling on the suit. Nomes' part in the construction was to painstakingly paint lines on flat black elastic with 3D fabric paint so it resembled scart cables. She also found round elastic to use for the smaller cables and ferrules to use as the jack plugs. These came out really well, especially the scart cables which look great and also have the advantage of being stretchy.
Nomes also went through the reference photos to give me a detailed breakdown of where all the seams on the suits were, and for my part I advised her on how to best sew lycra.

The pattern was adapted from an old PVC catsuit that I took apart. I made a paper pattern for Nomes and used the pieces for myself. It's a 4-panel catsuit, which I've never done before - all my previous suits were 2-panel. The grey and black sections were stitched together before being topstitched on to a base suit made of the silver fabric. Concealed zips were used for the front and back. The catsuit pattern had no collar so we had to improvise this, also stitching in a section of black between the silver parts. Sock and glove patterns were self-made using web tutorials.

We'd also agreed that the references showed separation in the bust area. I suggested sewing in a strapless bra, but Nomes pointed out that gluing it in would avoid stitching lines. I'm really happy with how this came out as well.

Nomes had also included detailing of the bar codes and text on the suits with the seam breakdown, which saved me an immense amount of time. She put them on with acrylics but as I was unwell and suffering from shaky hands I chose to use a white-ink pen. This worked well on some areas and less well on others so I will probably touch them up with acrylics at some point.

The elastic was all hand-stitched on my suit as the glue I had bought did not work.

Overall, given that these were made in something of a rush, I'm very pleased with how they came out, and I'm also very happy to have made a new friend!

Ever tried pressing a crease into stretch velour? D:

Everything needs a good iron but man, it's hard to iron a fabric that's designed for stretching rather than fitted clothing. However in order to be able to move in it, stretch was necessary. As if ironing velvet/velour wasn't bad enough.

The dye test worked :3 I'm slightly ambivalent as it means all the hassle of dyeing (with slightly toxic dye...), washing, and drying the fabric rather than just buying it as is, but hey - the colour has come out better than we'd probably have been able to find, and time is swiftly running out. I'm off to buy more of the silver today and will dye it tonight.

Pretty much finished off the jacket this weekend. I had the same problem with sizing as I did with the trousers, normally I'm a happy Kwik Sew medium but again the jacket came out rather baggy and I had to take it in several times to get it to fit. It must be something to do with the fabric.
I haven't lined the jacket at this point. I have enough fabric to do so, but I have another costume to make so I don't think I can spare the time right now. The facings mean it's already a functional jacket so it's not really that much of an issue, just personal preference. Since I plan to wear this costume again it's something I can do as an improvement.

The trousers are also finished. I do not wish to talk about getting the zip save to say that whilst I appreciated getting it for free I was not willing to enter discussions about paying for it with drugs or sexual favours O_o

Finding a suitable dark grey fabric for this costume is a bitch, even with two of us on the case. Several samples later and still no joy. I have my fingers crossed for one particular final sample (and possibly one other), but in the meantime I'm going to try a test dye sample on a bit of the silver stuff I already have. I don't have the highest of hopes but if anything can dye it iDye can!

Have been staring at pictures and working out seam lines. Some of them are... interesting. For example, on the legs, the side seam that's present everywhere else is absent but there's an apparent seam on the ass. That doesn't really make any sense in the real world! Accuracy is fun but sometimes a little artistic licence is a good thing.
Most of the rest of the seams are relatively straightforward, there's just a billion of them. Thankfully most of the darker colours can be stitched directly on top rather than faffing about with inserting panels.

Last time I made trousers with this pattern using cotton drill I avoided putting in any of darts or pleats because I am a fatty-chan around the waist and don't have much in the way of hip. Remembering this I did the same for these trousers, using the velour, on the basis that I can put them in later. Good thing too because for some reason, despite the cotton trousers still fitting perfectly, I now need ALL THE DARTS AND PLEATS to make sure they don't fall off me.

I am confuse ;_______; admittedly the fabric has some stretch (deliberately chosen as this is a fighting costume and I don't want anything restrictive)and I've lost a bit of ass but not THAT much.

Still need to buy the fly zip so I can't finish the trousers quite yet.

I'm in two minds about lining the jacket. The pattern doesn't call for it - it has facings instead, so I'd need to work out a lining pattern myself. But I do think it would be appropriate and probably also more comfortable to do so. Since King's jacket is always worn open (and indeed, doesn't even have front fasteners) the movement restriction is less of an issue than with the trousers (plus she's a Muay Thai artist so it's mainly about legs anyway :P). I think I probably will - just need to make sure I have sufficient of the satin contrast fabric...

One more picture.

I was dreading this as I have very, very unsteady hands and painting is a weak point. I took a lot of time and care though and I am so proud of myself, this is the fiddliest thing I have ever painted. The reference is below.

By the way... a couple more letters to paint and I am DONE :DD

I am so close to finishing now... I am excite :)

Basically all I have left to do is painting and some cosmetic touches. I did a test of the back/headpiece with all the tentacles in and I'm very happy with it. It rests on my head a bit more than planned so I may get a bit of a headache wearing it, but since I already know it will be a bitch to wear I'm going to minimise the time I spend wearing the whole thing... so if you want pictures you'll have to get in quickly :3

At this point I'm not going to put up any more pictures until I wear the whole thing - purely so I don't spoil the surprise.

This is the fabric I've bought for it, but the more I look at the "grey" (top) the less it looks right. It looked great in the shop, but in other lights and under a camera flash it looks much darker and more purpley.

I have made enquiries about another fabric that might work.

This is the bit of the costume I've possibly dreaded the most, and also the part I'd be most likely to remake if I qualify for Euro or even have enough time. Getting the foamex to angle right was tough and I'm not totally happy with it, nor with some of the glue gun work. But for now they are done. Hair curlers, witch fingers, and led circuits in foamex.

I'm on what should be the final round of handsewing now. Just the leg straps (2 down, 6 to go), the final odd piece on the armour, some magnet pouches and some individual staystitches on the tentacle segments. Then it's all glue, paint, engraving and wire.

Latest pieces of equipment used: a lighter and an electric drill!

Had to put it on to pin on the pouch straps so I took a picture.

It is basically the most horrible thing to wear ever.

I hate it.

But it looks pretty cool, huh?

Headpiece progress with bonus tentacles. Currently only one tentacle has the segments pinned on. Since taking the photo I've sewn most of them (more hand sewing, WHY), just the other three tentacles to go!

I have also since glued the back and top pieces together and attached them to the harness so it's one complete unit. The tentacles will be removable so that they can be transported more easily and attached to the headpiece at the event, probably with a combination of wire and magnets.

I've also rechecked my reference images and found that there are 5 more LEDs that I need to wire up. Not sure yet whether to just add them in to the circuit I've already built for the headpiece or to make up separate circuits, although thinking about it I don't have any more switches so I'd better add them in.

Backpiece progress!

Foamex/Sintra, heat moulded. The domes are cut from kid's ball-pit balls, sprayed and glued on. The two at the top aren't glued in this picture so you can see inside one of them.

Welp, just broke the £250 mark on this costume. It's because of the pouches. Originally I was going to make them myself, but I just couldn't find a material I was happy with, and research indicated that they were P90 pouches. The Viper pouches seemed the best fit so I ordered those - however, there seems to be a supply problem as the first two suppliers I tried couldn't get them, so I've had to go somewhere more expensive. Big sads! :(

Also found out that I might need to put resistors in my circuits after all. Boooo. I've already soldered them all together so will have to chop and insert them. Thankfully we almost certainly have the correct resistors at home.

Now the sewing is almost completely done I'm down to the prop-making. This is not my favourite part, but hey ho. This is the biggest prop-type costume I've ever made (and indeed may ever make).

I've soldered together the circuits for the lights, which went pretty well. I may manage to burn myself every time I cook or iron, but soldering irons and heat guns are just fine XD

Also started on the tentacle "segments" and I might end up doing some more sewing D: It's either that or holding it the entire time the glue takes to cure, no thanks. I can sew part and then it'll hold it while the glue sets in the other areas.
However, I should have known it was all going too smoothly... the evils of chemistry have reared their head. I've been spraying up various bits and pieces of the costume, and although the primer has gone on fine, for some reason on certain pieces the black spray paint then reacts and stays sticky, rendering it useless. I've seen this happen with rubber before, but I didn't think the fingers were the same kind of rubber - plus I assumed that since the primer seemed to dry OK it would be fine, but apparently not.

I've had to re-prime the fingers to take away the stickiness, and I'll just have to paint them with acrylic, or possibly PVA them and try spraying again. It will take more time, but it shouldn't be too much of an issue. Still, irritating!

I was all ready to go "YEAH! SUIT FINISHED! NO MORE STITCHING!" as I did the last bit of leatherette...

.... and then I remembered that there are straps on the thighs underneath the pouches ;______;

Need to buy the webbing for those. Very tempting to just glue them on, I am so tired of sewing this suit. We'll see.

Nonetheless, ALL THE ARMOUR BITS ON THE SUIT ARE DONE. Happy days. Pic possibly forthcoming.

Sum tentacles

Tentacle on the right is the plain foam with the wire running through it (you can see the wire poking through at the top). Tentacle on the right is with the base lycra cover, over which I'll be gluing PVC "segments".

Making the lycra covers for these takes an absolute age, because I have to pin the entire 2 metre length quite tightly around the foam and then hand-sew it all with a strong backstitch. I've done 3, one more to go!

I've been worrying about the headpiece being strong enough to hold them but doing the covers has reminded me of just how light foam is. It shouldn't be a problem. I do need to get some decent superglue though as apparently it's the best thing to use on foamex.

I'm about 90% done on the suit now. When I was putting it all together in my head I didn't even conceive of how much hand sewing would be involved; I thought I'd be able to machine most of it. In the real world, that's not possible when it's being put onto a pre-made suit.
Anyway, it's a creative use of my lunchbreaks (thank goodness work doesn't mind me sewing at my desk at lunch). I've probably clocked about 30 hours on the suit alone because of all the ribbing and handsewing involved.

I tried it on as best I could last night - I was alone in the house so I couldn't do the zip up all the way, but I got it done far enough to put on the harness/codpiece ensemble so I could work out where the last pieces need to be sewn on. I have to say I'm pretty darned happy with it! It is not comfortable but I can at least move around in it as long as I don't need to bend down too far.

I need to add on black leatherette pieces on the upper arms, calves and groin area, all of which also need eyelets punching in (oh joy). Once those are done and the leg straps are on the suit is basically finished short of things like the barcode detailing, which will be one of the last things I concern myself with.

I have realised, however, that the leg pouches I made are actually far, far too big. I was so obsessed with making sure they had the right structure and shape that I went overboard on size. I'll have to remake those but I might be able to take apart the ones I've already made and shrink them down a bit - if not, I'll need to buy more of that leatherette.

Just a progress shot of what I am affectionately calling the Gimp Suit.

Made the top yesterday. It's just patterned off a sleeveless turtleneck I already have and made out of cream ribbed fabric left over from my Ouka costume. The neck is a tiny bit wonky - might fix it if I decide I can be bothered.

The gems are goldstone cabochons, a little bit smaller than they should be but it's quite hard to get them in bigger sizes. I didn't want to glue them directly on as I'd like to be able to put the top in the washing machine, so instead I glued them to some cream ribbon that I can then sew on and take off when I want to wash it. It's currently sewn on just a tiny bit skewy because it's really hard to get symmetrical >_< Again, might fix this later.

I have also discovered that I don't need to make the skirt - the skirt Winged_Dark_Elf made me for my Takano Miyo costume is almost identical, I just need to pin two buttons on to it. Still need to cut the wig into style and put in the ribbon, and possibly get some white flats that are falling apart less than my current ones, but this costume is very nearly finished :D

I know I've been super-lax on putting up any pictures. My camera's gone walkabout (and is on the fritz anyway) and I keep forgetting to borrow my boyfriend's. But I did nab it for this shot, which is not very exciting, but people demanded some pictorial evidence :P

This is the cardboard mockup I made of the backpiece before starting to heatmould the foamex. There is actually a foamex version now, but no picture of that yet! I'm hoping I'll be able to keep it up with the harness, though I might need to put in some other way of keeping it in one place - maybe a hook system on the back of the suit.

I'm about 70% done on this costume.

Unfortunately, a severe cold followed by a sinus infection has knocked me almost out cold for the last week, which was a critical week in terms of being able to finish this costume for Minami. In theory I could get it done, but it would be rushed and there's no guarantee I'd manage it, plus with ME you really need to allow recovery time after a bad infection and not suppress your immune system by having unnecessary stress.

So yes. I'm so far along now that there's no question of not finishing this costume, but it most certainly won't be for Minami. Instead, the GiggleSquid will be making its debut at Ayacon.

WHY IS THERE SO MUCH HAND-SEWING ON THIS DAMN COSTUME I DON'T EVEN

Aha! Whilst I refuse to use the to-do list on here while mine remains so huge, what I WILL use it for is to mark off things that are complete ^_^

Putting wire through 2 metres of foam causes my CFS pains to flare up :( I've managed 2, so halfway there, but I'll have to take the last two more slowly or I'm out of action.

The eyelet punch I bought is also completely useless... it doesn't fit the eyelets correctly. Thankfully we already had one of the basic punch sets for the relevant size of eyelets, so I can still set them, it just takes longer (especially as my hammer's gone missing and I'm using a pair of pliers!). I've patterned and cut all the armour pieces, so they need eyelets putting in and sewing on to the suit next as I've finished sewing on all the ribbed pieces.

I do most of the journal updates at work - at some point I promise I'll take photos and add them to the relevant entry.

My foam tentacles are waiting for me at the post office. After trying out the fabric I intended to cover them with, I realised it wasn't the best match, as it's rather thick and when bending the foam massive creases appeared, as well as it warping the shape. In a way it's a good thing though; I've decided to switch it with the fabric I intended to make the armour pieces with, and that actually works in my favour.
Initially the fabric I was going to make the armour with would have required backing onto a thicker fabric as it's very thin. It's also the same fabric I'm making the ribbed parts out of (on which more later), so I would have needed to spray it with another colour to differentiate it from those areas. The rubbery fabric intended for the tentacles, however, is already thick and a different shade, thus eliminating the need to back and spray it :D

The thin fabric still bunches up where the foam bends, but really this is unavoidable. In the REAL WORLD, Mr. Game Designer, solid things are not entirely elastic! Even just the foam on its own crinkles somewhat at bends, and to get the right shape, it needs to bend reasonably sharply at points. I'd rather have the right shape than better smoothness, so crinkles there shall be. I do have one final idea on how to combat it, which I'll be testing later this week, but if it doesn't work I'm not going to tear my hair out over a few crinkles.

The last couple of weeks have mostly been dedicated to the ribbed areas on the suit. I'm ribbing the fabric myself, with a very fine zigzag stitch so it retains some stretch. First I have to measure and draw dozens of parallel lines on the back of the fabric, and then I need to sew them all, as absolutely close to straight as possible. I've done probably 70 of these lines, on pieces of varying width, and will have done over 100 by the time I'm finished! You'd think plain straight lines would be easy and quick to do, but because it's so important that they're straight and parallel, it takes a fair bit of care. There are ribbed areas on the front, back, calves and bicep areas.

I'm stitching them on the suit with a combination of handsewing with a backstitch and machining with a zigzag before cutting off the excess. The edges are largely covered by the armour pieces so I've also zigzagged the edges to stop the straight lines from fraying.

Hit some snags in the purchasing stages this week!

The first discovery was that the company I intended to buy foamex from (Seawhite) is actually a wholesaler and won't sell me less than £100 worth. They have a regular outlet, but it's 50% more expensive. I'll get it from Flints instead - I can actually go to their store and have it in my hands, provided I make it there before 2pm!

The second discovery *really* threw a spanner in the works. It's my intention to make the tentacles from soft upholstery foam covered in rubberised fabric and with a wire core to make them fully mouldable. Experiments with foam and wire worked out well, and I was all set to go ahead and order them from one of the companies that offer foam cut to shape. "Any shape you want!" - unless it's 2 metres long and cut as a thin irregular hexagon, it seems. One company said they could do it, but quoted £135, which is a LOT steeper than I'm willing to go. The others have all just outright said they can't do it ;_;

The tentacles are the part of this costume that have thrown up the biggest headaches, easily. They are also the part I am most determined to have look decent. I really want them to be hexagonal rather than cylindrical if I possibly can, and I really want them to be shaped well and not just hang down limply - plus I want them to be the right length. This is why it's a bit disheartening - I really though I'd found the solution.

HOWEVER. I will not be discouraged! I've been offered square-cut lengths which I can attempt to cut into hexagons myself if I can manage to fashion a kind of clamp to hold them while I cut. It adds to my already terrifying to-do list (currently far, far too long to post up here) and the hexagonal shape won't be precisely accurate, but I was never kidding myself that this was going to be an easy costume ;)

Thought I'd kick things off by making something relatively simple, so I started with the harness thingy. The more I looked at it, the more I realised that it didn't really fully conform to any kind of commercially available harness. I therefore decided that since I'm hoping for decent accuracy I'd be best off making it from scratch.

The hardest part was working out how it was structured - it's actually a single continuous piece of webbing looped in a very particular way, which is a pain in the bottom to keep untwisted when creating it! I had to draw out a diagram with arrows to keep it worked out in my brain while I was fitting it to myself.

The codpiece is a piece of foamex, heat-shaped to myself with holes pierced into it to sew it on to the webbing. There are also two dog clips which connect to D-rings and a buckle fastening on the chest strap. They all needed sewing together, which I decided to do by hand as I had to go through several layers of webbing to make sure it didn't fray.

On its own it's possibly the kinkiest-looking thing I've ever made :P

I'll take a picture at some point and add it to this entry.

Project: Laughing Octopus.exe ERROR
Abort/Fail/Retry?

>R

Back on the squiddy bandwagon me hearties!
Very much hoping to get this done for Minamicon, but we'll see - if not Minami, then Aya at the latest. If I don't do it this year it will probably never get done ;)

Last night I took out the foamex board I'd ordered to play about with and had a go at shaping it with a heat gun. Bad smell aside, it's very easy to shape if you're careful about not gripping it hard enough to leave dents (and even those can be removed with more heat and holding in place). It also has the benefit of coming in black, thus removing some of the need to paint it.

I'm looking at using it to construct the entire back/headpiece as a hollow structure to keep it light but strong - the other advantage of the foamex over, say, plastazote is that it's stiffer and stronger, so will keep a structured shape very well as well as being harder to damage.

I've also got an idea on how to make the tentacles. The tentacles have been my main bugbear throughout planning this costume for a variety of reasons. However, now that we've bought a house (with a garage) the issue of storage becomes less difficult as I can wrap them in plastic and hide them away in the attic or garage where they won't get in anyone's way. Transporting them will still be a bit awkward, but the plan I'm currently working on will mean they have some flexibility so can be adjusted to the space available for transport.
I really want them to have some decent structure as well as being thick enough, as these are the main problems I've seen with other people's versions.

I've started work on the ribbed areas of the bodysuit; just need to experiment with something to put under the fabric for the more "armoured" areas.

Finally, though my plan to actually make it last weekend failed miserably, I do now have all the necessary materials to make a duct tape dummy of myself, which will make construction far, far easier given that it's a full body suit. It will also allow me to get a better idea of proportions, particularly important for the back/headpiece.

Currently, my to-do tasks are: Make duct tape dummy, make a cardboard/paper mockup of the back/headpiece, experiment with the tentacle method and sew on the first bits of ribbing to the suit.

It's time to get started on Minami planning! I'm aiming for three costumes this year, and since one of them is a certain Squid, the other two need to take up as little time as possible whilst also providing me with enough to do as a distraction from squiddly frustrations (I find having more than one costume to work one at a time is helpful, as when I get irritated with making one I can switch to the other in an endless loop of irritation).

Saki's design isn't especially complicated; it's a basic kimono and hakama, involving hand painting on the kimono but otherwise little in the way of detail.

Question 1: are those undivided (andon) hakama or divided (umanori) hakama? The two styles look very similar so it's hard to tell. The back shot makes it look like they're umanori hakama, but the front shot looks more like andon. I'd prefer to wear umanori, but if I choose the andon style I can actually just buy a set instead of having to make them from scratch - much less complicated, and because of the quantity of fabric involved in all those pleats, probably cheaper than buying nice quality base fabric *anyway*. So for the moment, I'm going to go with the andon style; as a woman it's more likely she'd wear andon hakama anyway.

Question 2: fabric to use for the kimono? Kimono are traditionally made from silk, but a kind of silk that's not all that easy to get. It needs to be thickish to act like a real kimono. The fabric should be good quality; she's the leader of a village so would dress well.

Shopping trip in order!

I *should* be rewearing this for October Expo this weekend. I was meant to finish up all of the little bits I hadn't managed to do, but I've been really unbelievably lazy and haven't >_< Which is awful of me.

However, I've managed a couple of improvements. I've glossed the armour with PVA to make it a bit more metally-looking. I deliberately didn't seal the PVA before painting as I wanted it to look like worn, beaten metal rather than shiny and new, and painting unsealed gave that effect, but I didn't have time to coat it so the paint started to rub off. It won't do that now, plus it looks better in general. The PVA acted strangely on the paint though, so it's taken a couple of coats to look smooth. I've also used old socks (never throw socks away! They make wonderful bases for sleeves and gloves!) to improve how the arm pieces are kept on, which will be much easier and more comfortable to wear.

I've also done a little bit more of the bottom detailing on the coat, though only on the front panels at the moment.

I really need to make the calf coverings before I even think about wearing it again, so I'm hoping I can get those done in the evenings this week! I'm also going to put at least some of the studs on the vest and armour because it's so easy to do - I just need to pick up the spare Puma twin studs from Amy-Lou.

So sorry Xiahou... I am not doing you justice. I will finish you properly, maybe for Auchinawa!

Loaded up the game and used the library feature to sketch out the armour details. As ever, there's more small detail than I'd realised - it also doesn't help that SCIII doesn't allow you to zoom in on the lower legs and feet! Assuming that the greaves are much the same design as the bracers, I've now got it all sketched out, but it has made a couple of things clear. Primarily that her weapons don't attach to anything, they just hover somewhere on her lower back >_< and also that her mask is apparently glued to her face, because that lacks attachments too. DAMN YOU GAME DESIGNERS. You can decide to separate the mark into two pieces with fabric connecters, allowing it to move when she speaks, but you can't add in a way for it to actually, you know, stay on her head?!

She also has a shield on the back of the leather chest/back piece with an angry face on it, making a total of 8 angry faces on the entire costume. I'm going to see how I get on with Sculpey Ultralight for those to keep them light but still nice and defined.

I hope so....

I took Wednesday afternoon off work to get down to things, but as ever it turned out to be more complicated than I'd anticipated. This is mostly down to the sleeves! There are three layers involved, 2 of non-stretch suedette and 1 of stretch cotton lycra. To get things to sit right, I have to very carefully pin and sew the suedette layers to the lycra on the tops and bottoms of the puffs before I can even contemplate setting them in to the jacket.

I also hit some small snags with the white collar - seems our male dress form has a hell of a fat neck compared to me, so I had to tweak and take it in several times.

The yoke pattern on the other hand made life easy for me by being no more than a rectangle with a slash in it. Why can't all patterning be that easy? Admittedly once transferred to suedette and interfaced I needed to make a couple of minor cuts to shape it better, but it was refreshing. I have a picture of the pattern piece I made but since I'm updating at work you can't have it yet.

At any rate, although I've still not progressed as far as I'd like, it *is* starting to look like actual clothes now instead of just bits, which is always a great motivator. Once the sleeves are set in it's mostly a case of just sewing bits on to the base jacket and yoke; much easier and can be done by hand if it comes to it.

I'm deeply unimpressed with my lack of progress. We had people over for the weekend and I just didn't feel right taking up loads of space and ignoring them so I could sew, and on Sunday I was hit with a CFS attack and spent almost the whole day in bed.

I did, however, manage to work on the sleeves, so it wasn't a dead loss!
From my last experiment with puff sleeves on Snow White, I discovered that they remain in place better if they have an undersleeve to hold them in place, thus only allowing gravity to drag them down to the point at which they're sewn on to it and giving that puffed-out look at the bottom. Since I'm making the white part of the sleeve from cotton lycra for a nice tight fit but allowing movement, I made the undersleeve from this as well. I used my Kwik-sew catsuit pattern for this sleeve, and a pattern for an incredibly girly blouse with puffed sleeves for the top parts. I like being able to add a touch of "historical" authenticity here and there, so (as with Snow White) I chose to make them slashed puff sleeves, based on Tudor costumes, which were clearly the inspiration for Fugue's sleeves. It makes it a bit harder than just, say, appliqueing on the red parts, but it makes me feel special.

This is achieved by cutting two identical pieces for each sleeve - one of the burgundy suedette, and one of the grey. The burgundy is the underlayer. I then measured and cut triangular slashes into the grey pieces before gathering them. These slashes currently aren't hemmed because I'm running out of time and suedette doesn't fray too much, but if I manage it I'll either hem or back with Fray-stop.

I gave up on the pieces I'd cut for the jacket. I just couldn't get them to sit right, however I pinned them - there must be some fundamental difference I can't see between the cotton mockup fabric and the suedette!

So, I ditched them all, mocked up again using a very basic robe pattern, and twiddled it until it looked right. It means a side seam, and very possibly not a straight one, but better a side seam than no costume!

It's STILL not come out quite right - it's not long enough at the back, but conversely this also makes my legs look longer and slimmer, so I'm not too bothered by it. I had just about enough burgundy fabric to redo it and still have enough for things like the slash puffed sleeves, which is a relief (when I was buying fabric I'd convinced myself the jacket was mostly grey - it's not, it's burgundy with grey bits - and I bought far far more of the grey suedette).

I am way behind on my progress, but I should still get it done - I may be missing some of the smaller details though.

That's why there are no photos :P Actually, it's because we only dug out the working camera yesterday.

Much like Delusional, I'm using journals to convince myself I'm making progress...

Anyway. This weekend I managed to sew up the trousers. The pattern I used (Butterick 3648) I chose mainly by virtue of it being the only men's trouser pattern I could find in the chaos of house moving, but it also has the benefit of not having a fly zip (bonus win! I hate doing fly zips). It's a Victorian style pattern so the trousers have a placket front held up by buttons, or in my case possibly hooks & eyes and poppers, because I can't be faffed with buttonholes right now. It's actually a reasonably simple pattern to understand, though the notches, as I've always found with Butterick, do not line up precisely.

All they need now is fasteners (lunchbreak job!) and the decorative diamonds on the sides.

I also (a while back) covered the wellies, though they still need the armour and detail parts adding.

I found the bag of interfacing, so all is well on that front.

Cut the wig last night. It was a shoulderlength wig with really long bangs, so a lot needed to be chopped off. I hate cutting long wigs into short, masculine styles, because it never looks quite right at the back, but it seems to have come out OK this time. However, it took so much slicing and snipping that I ended up with a blister on the middle knuckle of my middle finger! That's a new injury to add to the "bizarre ways I have hurt myself doing cosplay".

If I can dig out a camera from the piles of just-moved-house I'll post up a picture of the wig and monocle; it's pretty funny.

Oh yeah - forgot to mention. The bag of interfacing has vanished during the house move. I'm sure it's IN the house. I'm fairly sure it's in the spare room. I just can't find it! Interfacing is VITAL to this costume, so I really hope it turns up soon...

Patterned the jacket, and then cut it out of the main fabric. It's gone weird. I've made the pattern completely from scratch as I was desperately trying to avoid side seams which would look odd beneath the "diamond" details, but somewhere between the cotton mockup and the suedette the front panels have become far too narrow!

I think I'll give up on the seamless look and use a side panel instead - something wide enough for the "diamonds" but avoiding a seam right in the middle of the side. It'll make things a bit easier, just not as cool, and it will also mean the bad front panels are probably recyclable, as well as using more of the grey fabric (of which I have lots) instead of the red fabric (which is in shorter supply).

That setback aside, I DO have the most important part of the costume now - the monocle! It's a proper monocle so actually sits on my eye naturally without assistance. Still waiting on the wig - I should check the tracking number on that.

Flipping hope I can get this done in time ;_;

Kat and Amy have both made actual progress... I'd better get off my ass!

I forced myself into London in the blazing heat and sunshine on Saturday and spent about 2 hours gathering up all the fabric I needed. It's... 90% suedette. I figure the grey and burgundy parts looked like suedette, plus I love sewing with it, and it got to the point where I just thought I'd try to make most of it out of matching fabric. The turquoise patches are muslin as the bias I bought was cotton, so they have a similar texture, plus it breaks up the suedette. There's also some white leatherette for collar and details, and I'll use some regular white cotton and cotton lycra to break it up some more. The suedette for the boots (and other bits) I got is a bit too purple, but I may experiment a bit with ink washes to make them more grey-toned. My regular shop for suedette managed not to have a single colour that was in any way useful, hence the 2 hours ;_;

I have wellies for the boots. They're chunky enough that they match the in-game art quite well, plus they were cheap. Since I'm covering them anyway their welliness won't be immediately obvious.

I bought a monocle, but I can't actually wear it because it's cheap party shop tat. So I splashed out a little bit and got a proper one, still waiting on that. Also waiting on the wig, but that should turn up soon!

I've asked TheKillingDoll to make me a katana with his con-safe-sword-making skills. For now, I need to dig out the sewing gear from amongst the house-move boxes and get started - trousers first!

I did actually start pinning things onto the catsuit (whilst wearing it) on Saturday, but...

I'm postponing her again. Sorry to anyone who was looking forward to this at Ame, but between other group members being unable to complete, having to move house AND perform some refurbishment, and a return to poor health, completing this for Ame would be unbearably stressful, and I want it to be fun.

This is something like the 3rd postponement, but I want to do it justice and not kill myself over it. And I can assure you it WILL be done, it's been officially started. Current date next Minami.

Alright. With the help of some excellent-quality screencaps, I've been sketching out exactly how that octopus-thing on her head is constructed. The first thing to note is that it isn't actually on her head at all - it might rest on it slightly, but it is in fact a construct based off her spine and held on by that harness, like a backpack or parachute. That means I can construct it a bit like a backpack and it will be relatively easy and comfortable to put on and wear. It also means that the weight is much better distributed - but I still don't want it made out of anything heavy, so I'm looking at materials. My initial thought was plastazote, but I'm not convinced I can get it to look angular enough, so I'm going to order some test pieces of other materials and see what they're capable of. It needs to be able to curve as well as angle, so foamboard's no good, but foamex might be.

I suspect a wire frame will be in order to keep things hollow and light, so I'll be needing some decent garden wire, clippers and garden gloves!

On inspecting the screenshots, there is a LOT of tiny detail on this costume, like rivets, barcodes, and clips, that I doubt I'll have time to fully do with the whole moving house thing, so this costume will probably be a work in progress.

I'd post up my dreadful sketches, but no scanner :P

None of the full harnesses I'd seen so far were quite right, but my research has now shown me that it appears to be a variation on the US army ALICE system - the top part appears to be the same, but instead of attaching to a belt, LO's connects to a kind of thong-knicker arrangement. I've also decided it's olive green rather than black, so I've now an idea of how to go about it - I'll purchase the ALICE shoulder harness, and add in the knicker bit with some olive green webbing I've had lying around for ages with some purchased clips.

Being a proper harness, it will also make it easier to support the headpiece, which as I recall actually comes from the spine rather than being a helmet. I'll need to get some backshots though!

Went scouting for fabric to see what was available, and struck super-lucky! I was after something with a rubber rather than a leather texture, but that kind of fabric is hard to find - you see it sometimes, but there's no guarantee it'll be in stock. I also had the issue that Octopus's suit doesn't look pure black - it's sort of dusty and has a greenish tinge, and everything I had seen was very black and often too shiny.

Serendipity was on my side yesterday, however, and I found a PVC that looks like rubber, is greenish tinted, AND (megabonus!!!) 4-way stretch! What's more, it was on special, reduced from £8 to £6 a metre :D I think I'll still have to back it onto something sturdier for the more armoured-looking areas, but gets nonetheless.

The zentai suit has also arrived (bought 1pm Wednesday, on my doorstep Thursday), so I can actually get started on this mofo. I'll be starting with the ribbed areas, I think.

As my partner has his own costume to work on, this will be pretty much entirely my own project, which is scary as I have much more limited prop experience, but I'm also quite excited to give it a try. I'm phasing back to less ambitious cosplay projects after this, so I want to go out with a bang!

Our ride to Amecon is also considering a large costume so we may be renting a bigger vehicle to fit it all in, which means I don't have to be quite so concerned with things being too large to fit in a tiny car. I may still make the tentacles in segments though for safety.

Actually, the first.

For the first time ever, Bostik All-purpose has not fulfilled its function with perfection ;_; Most of it's OK, but the lowest layer of leather, the one with the most stress put one it when curved around my arm, is unsticking itself. It needs reinforcing stitches, which is a bit awkward. Still, better to find this out now than to wear it and have everything fall apart.

For reference, the dance tights I'm using are from the brand Capezio, in "nude". They're a little paler than skin, but all the other colours I found were either too brown or too pink.

Last night I put them on and got my long-suffering boyfriend to paint on the camo designs - not really something I could do myself. We used acrylic paint, and surprisingly the tights were thick enough that barely any of it seeped through to my legs. The designs are VERY green right now, so I may fade them down a bit with some face powder - I was expecting the paint to seep through more and leave a more "transparent" look.

They look thoroughly bizarre when not being worn, because the paint keeps those areas stretched out a bit, whereas the rest of the tights shrink back down.

The last things to do are the minor accessories and finishing off the armguards, which just means sewing on more poppers - something for tomorrow's lunch break, methinks. I'm not sure yet if I can be bothered to actually alter the leotard to be thong-backed - at the moment I'm just giving myself a wedgie with it to make it look thongy, and to be honest that looks fine and means I have more to shift around to make sure the tights seam is covered. If I do alter it it will be a last-minute decision.

OK, I'm going to make this.

The first stage will be the main suit, since getting that done will hopefully inspire me to continue with the harder parts. I'll be using a full-coverage black zentai suit as the very base, to which I'll add fabric on top to make it ribbed where visible. The hood looks like leather or latex, but since I want to be able to see out of that mofo, I'm taking a little artistic liberty and keeping it lycra. If I get obsessive I'll make an overhood with eyeholes.

The outer suit depends on what materials I find. I'm considering using sheet latex but I'm unsure how much of the undersuit will show through, so I may end up with either leatherette or a leather-look lycra.

I own a pair of ninja tabi boots already, which I plan to use for the shoes. They're not entirely the right fabric but it saves me from having to make a pair suitable for walking in (ie not just socks).

The parachute harness will likely be purchased, though I may need to paint it black since the ones I've seen for sale so far aren't.

The "claws" will probably be fake "witch nails" painted and cut to shape.

As for the tentacles, those still need experimentation. I currently favour plastazote as the material for the entire head/tentacle section as it's light and reasonably hardwearing. I'm not sure whether to have them loose or mouldable, though I'd like to be able to drape them on things. Depending on transportation they may need to be made in collapsible sections, but this is currently under discussion! I'd like to have the LEDs in the bottom tentacle sections light up, which shouldn't be overly difficult.

I've got the tentacle section designs sketched out, so I know how they're *meant* to fit together, but... game physics >_> they do seem to move in a way that's not really plausible. So they will probably look more angular in the real world. Still looking into the best flexible method of connecting the segments together.

The THIRD pair of dance tights I ordered are finally decent - neither glossy nor pink, but something that actually vaguely resembles skin. My legs aren't in amazing shape, nor do I wish to have to bother painting them in the morning, so dance tights were easily the best option - I just wish I didn't have to try three times to get the right ones.

Tried them on with the leotard and some shaping underwear last night, and it doesn't look as awful as I was worried it would. I won't be a cute Cammy, but I will at least look like I'm capable of beating somebody up!

The armguards are in progress. They're made from plastazote covered in the rest of the red leather I bought for my I-no costume, as I thought red leather would be appropriate. It does mean I'm having to sew up a pair of fingerless gloves in leather, which is not much fun, but I'm almost done. I need to finish the second glove and then glue it all together, as well as work out how to fasten the armguards as they'll be a bit too tight to simply slip on. That'll be the main parts of the costume finished :)

The hat is now complete except for the cannonballs (ping pong balls are ready to be painted and glued, sah!). And actually, bar a single straight line of stitching and one or two optional decorative bits, it's pretty much done as a whole :)

The feathers in the hat mean I have a turning circle of approximately 6 feet...

The hat is now complete, bar decoration and weaponry. I think it wins the award for being the largest and most ridiculous hat I've ever constructed, and I have the odd bizarre hat in my portfolio already!

I tried to make it from scratch, but it wasn't working out, so I bought a Leg Avenue pirate hat, extended it with funky foam, and covered the whole thing in the red fabric, sealing the edges with bias binding. I will probably need to slightly alter the sword configuration to prevent it being overbalanced on one side, but priority on the hat is obviously the MOTHERLOVIN' HAT CANNON.

Next up: buying loads of decorative shiz and making everything blingin'.

Made really good progress on the jacket thus far, just a few bits and pieces to finish off there. But I've hit a major bugbear with the velvet/velour I'm using for the cape and underskirt. It frays like a b**** and seems to shift around when I sew it (probably because it's quite a deep pile). I got pretty frustrated with it and threw the whole lot into a bag - now I need to unpick a load of bias and try again with something to stop the fraying.

Cotton velvet doesn't do this >_>

I finally convinced the fabric to dye.

Now if only Royal Mail weren't (%*"&£(%£ I'd be able to really get working - but until I get that bias binding, nothing much can happen. It literally holds the costume together!

Here's a comparison picture of the wig before and after colouring. It took me three evenings to colour. I think I went slightly overboard and it's come out more lilac than I intended, but it's still a reasonably subtle colour.

Used 3 Letraset markers in "Lavender".

I've pretty much patterned everything out and started cutting into the leather, which made me pretty nervous. I've had to order twice as many skins as I initially thought because I forgot about the sleeves and the hat will require two to cover both sides of the brim, but it's worth it because it smells so amazing!

I've also made the base of the hat using fine mesh wire. I'm aiming for a very organic looking hat so the bendiness of it is ideal. I've also split it into two parts as I have a cunning plan for the inside ^_^

Note to self - pinning leather is extremely difficult and bends pins a lot. I have special needles for the sewing - but are there special leather pins?

The wig is fully coloured and cut, and it's in a few plaits at the front to get a slight wavy effect.

My experiments with dye have so far only turned my white fabric into light grey fabric, but I've ordered more dye in two types. There's a risk it'll end up black, but if that happens I'll just go with it - I initially thought the costume was black anyway.

I spent the weekend patterning the corset/basque and skirt, and I've now cut out all the pieces. They need interfacing but I'll do that once they're dyed. The lining has also been cut - in fact, the only pieces that remain to be cut are the black chiffon pieces.

I also need to pad out the bra. My boobs aren't exactly small, but Ivy is renowned for her ample assets and the design of this costume allows for padding, so I'm using a bra two cup sizes larger than I wear myself. Combined with a corset to give me more of an indented waist, it's giving me a reasonably accurate silhouette.

I've commissioned Tab (Khaoskreator) to make the belt for me, as I hate making belts and wasn't sure on what to make the buckle out of, and I know Tab will do a great job particularly as he's using real leather.

Royal Mail has delayed my progress somewhat, however >_< Irritatingly, they decided to return my parcel containing bias binding and eyelets to sender after less than the official 7 days, so now I have to contact the seller and let them know it's not my fault. Incidentally, this parcel was not delivered properly - there were 5 people in our flat, 3 of them very close to the front door, when the "sorry you were out" card was pushed through. No knock, no attempt to properly deliver the parcel. I'm not at all impressed and I think I'll be chasing this up with them.

I got a marker pen from Letraset in their "Lavender" shade and started colouring the wig last night. Because it's such a subtle tone, I'm getting away with colouring small chunks with the broad-nibbed end of the marker. I think I did about 50% of the necessary colouring last night, although I don't know if washing the excess ink off will mean I need to do another coat - the wig is a bit stiff with the ink now.

The colour is coming out really nicely. It's a bit of a shame, as the wig was a lovely silver colour beforehand, but I was determined to try and get the right colour hair for Ivy as it's something you rarely see.

I've also purchased some brocade fabric. It's white and I don't know how well it will dye, so I'll be doing a test dye with Dylon multipurpose in pewter once I've picked up some dye. If it doesn't work I may give up on the idea of having the brocade details, as nothing I've found comes close enough to matching both pattern and colour.

I've resigned myself to not having this perfect by Expo, but I think I will at least have it finished. I've made a muscle vest, and largely what remains to be done is sewing the bias binding and then smaller details like the belt. We'll see if there's time to do the boot detail - if not, I'll just wear knee boots and have done with.

The main problem is likely to be the applique of the gold designs on the coat. As you can see, they're a bit complicated (they should be smaller, but it was hard enough cutting them out this size, the level of detail required for accuracy would have drive me crazy) and it'll take ages. They're Bondawebbed on, so I can probably get away without it if I absolutely have to, but I'll try and get it done.

I have properly started now. The coat has been patterned, cut and partially sewn, so I spent much of Sunday cutting out the golden "fern" designs for the front and back of the coat. I've done all but one, but since each one took a good half hour to cut out due to being detailed, and there's a total of 6, I now have a pathological hatred of fern designs. I am dreading appliquéing the things onto the coat. I'm also disappointed by how little Bondaweb you actually get within each pack - I was expecting a metre square, but it's actually a long strip.

Armour is also cut out, just needs to be painted, detailed and shaped. Wig has been cut, eyepatch has been made.

I was supposed to start making this this weekend. I really, really didn't :(

Still, I did manage to sketch everything out so I don't need to keep referring back to the ref. images on my laptop. I've also drawn out the detail work, which is quite possibly going to kill me, although thankfully there's a lot of repetition, so I can use the first pieces as a basis for the rest.

If I wasn't so utterly gay for this coat I'd think about leaving it, but... I have to have it.

I have now inhaled so much paper dust that I think I'm going to start excreting newspapers!

The armour is on its way. The initial plan was just paper mache over balloons, but that was proving to take far too long to dry (and, as it turned out, we'd neglected to vaseline the balloons first so it wouldn't quite have worked). We ended up using paperclay, which is pretty much paper pulp in powder form, that you add water to and then mould before sticking in a hot oven to dry.

Awesome though the paperclay is, it doesn't give a very smooth surface on the larger pieces, so I've been diligently sanding, smoothing with surface filler, and sanding again. The shoulder holes need neatening up and everything needs spraying and some more spikes sticking on, but already I can tell that it's going to look like we're wearing sea mines on our shoulders - which is what it's supposed to look like, so wahey!

I've also done the majority of the rest of my costume - it's just boots and armour to finish off. This costume contains an obscene number of studs, honestly. I've bought at least one shop out of split pins for it.

I also have heel lifts in the boots to get me closer to Amy-Lou's impressive height. They're quite strange to wear, especially as they aren't really designed to be put into lace-up boots.

Sorry for lack of progress images, but I don't tend to take them that often :3

Boots arrived 2 days after ordering ^_^

I was aiming for block heel red platforms as that's the closest to what I-no actually wears, but they have proved rather difficult to find without shelling out over £100 on pure leather ones. If I were likely to wear them for anything except this costume, I'd have considered it, but thigh high red platform boots aren't *really* my everyday style.

Anyway, £30 pleather boots with a slightly more stiletto-styled heel should do the job. They certainly make me tall enough, and the added stretch of the pleather means they're pretty easy to get on and off, even with my huge muscular calves. I'm going to use real leather on the rest of the costume so I'll just have to hope it matches well enough.

Because of the height of the boots, many people will be at approximately eye level with my bust, so I'll have to take extra care in constructing the top so that nothing escapes...

My boyfriend, who is far more skilled with props than I am, has kindly agreed to make me a nice, light, consafe guitar, quite possibly containing actual guitar components. Star :)

Met up with Amy-Lou and Delusional to get my cosplay mojo flowing, and managed to make the base bodysuit. I should really change the image- we're going for the all black leather costumes from the manga rather than the anime's slightly weird yellow bits, because.. well, they're cooler.

The bodysuit is a singularly unflattering garment but it does show off my butt quite well >_< I also made the stockings, so Annapuma shall not be a giant wig and nothing else :) Most of what remains to be made is armour and accessories.

Boots ordered!

It occurred to me the other day that between the platform boots and the hat, I will be over 6 feet tall in this costume. That'll be interesting to say the least - thankfully I suspect most of my I-no activities will be outside!

Amy-Lou and I finally managed to liaise properly yesterday and there was a goodly amount of planning. We've worked out basic logistics for the armour pieces, main body, stockings and wigs/ears, and ordered a vast amount of biker studs from the Bay of E.
Boots are proving to be difficult. We were planning on using canvas boots as a base, but despite being hugely popular a couple of years ago, the only suitable ones we can find are from Taiwan and expensive. Hopefully we can find something in the next two months...

We've decided to go for the manga art rather than the anime's simplified and weirdly yellow version (which means I should alter my ref image on here) as we both like it better. Also, our wigs are slightly different colours, which fits the manga artwork better.

Next step: the purchasing of large quantities of black leatherette!

Right. This year she's definitely happening, so I've got out the fabric that I had bought for it last year, and assessed all the tasks I need to complete to get her done. The main difficulties will be with the visor and the tubing/mechanics on the back, but Phil has given me some ideas on what materials to use, so with some experimentation I should be set. There's a distinct possibility that I may end up using beer cans, which would be a first!

The wigs have arrived... I've never had such an enormous box in the mail before!
They're pretty epic - if only I knew where my camera charger was I'd post pictures.

Just three tasks left - sewing on buttons, painting the belt, and painting the design on the back. I found a pair of flared gloves at TK Maxx, which aren't entirely accurate but spare me the fiddliness of making my own from scratch. I also bought the toy sword - unfortunately rather shorter and bulkier than I'd hoped, but it does have the advantage of making cool swordfight noises. If I get around to it I'll knock up a gun holster as well.

A hard day's sewing, and a nearly-finished jumpsuit to show for it. All that remains is to sew on the buttons and paint on the back design. It's not as fitted as it should be, but I've already made several adjustments to bring it in and it'll just have to do.
I also recut the wig, as when I put it on it resembled a fetching pudding-bowl haircut. It's now somewhat too short, but it looks a lot closer to her style when put against my face.

Beyond this, the belt needs painting and I need to buy or make gloves, and I'm done!

Started work on the jumpsuit today, and promptly sewed it together wrong >_< Still, it wouldn't be one of my costume if at least one seam didn't need to be taken apart and resewn. The pattern isn't exactly the same as the original - there's an extra seam in the back - but I wasn't prepared to make up my own pattern. I'm much more comfortable with premade patterns, particularly when they're Kwik-sew patterns, which are easily my favourite pattern company ^_^

After MUCH searching, I finally found pictures of the design on the back of her jumpsuit, which I remember seeing in the film but until now haven't been able to find any images of. I also get to choose whether or not to have her star badge, as she only wears it at some points. I do have a badge just like it, but it depends on whether I can find it or not!

I'm hoping to finish sewing up the jumpsuit tomorrow. I would have done more today, but as well as the mis-sewing, I also decided to overcast all my edges, which took quite a while. It was necessary, though, as the fabric I'm using (a kind of suiting) frays horribly.

After that it's just painting the belt, the back design, and making or buying the gloves to do.

My jumpsuit pattern for this finally arrived after I battled for ages trying to find a pattern for the breeches of her other outfit and failed. I've already cut the wig and bought the belt, so it's just a matter of sewing up the jumpsuit and painting the belt black - and finding a picture of the symbol that I remember being on the back!


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