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Costume Notes: Mami (Madoka Magica)

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Photographer Credits: 

Completed: May 2017

Hours Spent: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I kept track up until April, when A-Kon told us our group was too big to compete. After that I stopped caring.

Debuted: A-Kon 2017

Why This Costume: When the Cosmic Coterie crew decided to make Madoka as our major group build this year, I jumped at the chance to cosplay Mami. She’s by and far my favorite character and design, and had a couple of crazy design elements I wanted to jump at to improve my prop making and wig making skills.

Purchased Pieces: 

  • Contacts: Etia Coeur in Caramel Gold
  • Base gloves: We Love Colors solid wrist gloves in white (dyed and altered)
  • Soul gem base kit: The Dangerous Ladies
  • Wig: Arda Chibi and long clip in extensions in Fairy Blonde

Patterns Used: 

Super Helpful Tutorials: 

How I Made it: 

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To create the hat, I dug up some books on millinery. After looking at multiple reference sources (including my Mami figures. Knew they’d pay off eventually!), I realized that Mami’s hat isn’t a standard pillbox hat; it tapers in rather dramatically. I used the information found in Basic Millinery for the Stage to create a buckram base. The shell fabric is a chocolate velveteen from OnlineFabricStore.net with a matching lining. It stays in place with sewn in wig combs.

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My wig was an intense experience, which I detailed here. It took several tries to get right, but it’s one of the pieces I’m proudest of with this build! Sparkle Pipsi’s drill curl tutorial was an invaluable resource.

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Initially I wanted to make my own mold for Mami’s soul gem, but when I stumbled across the kits provided by TheDangerousLadies (I got the fabric for my stockings from them too!), I decided to save myself the trouble. The kits come unpainted, so I lightly sanded the base gem, primed and painted it, and then used jewelry wire I had on hand to create a flower backing. The wire is held in place with scrap Worbla, and I used e6000 to glue hair pins onto the back of the Worbla.

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My blouse was one of the easier parts of this build. Yaya’s peacoat pattern in my size required minimal alterations. I went with view A and used the puffy sleeves (shortened to appropriate Mami proportions). I decided to leave the peplum shape on this top since it was tucked into my skirt anyway, which meant that it acted as a slip. I created strips out of gold satin and attached those to the center front of the bodice before adding in my invisible zipper. For the neck piece, made the collar according to pattern instructions, then cut a small strip of gold on the bias to create the trim on her collar. The center front buttons on the blouse were a lucky find from Jo-Ann’s. They have adorable flowers embossed on them! The gold buttons on the sleeve cuffs were harvested from my old Captain Marvel, and the trim on the arms is the same velveteen I used for my hat. It’s a bias cut strip that I carefully pinned around the arm hole after attaching the sleeve. It’s edgestitched down. The sleeves are underlined with tulle to help them retain their puffy shape.

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The arm warmers are made from the same peachskin I used for the blouse. I drafted a bell-shape that started at my bicep and ended at the wrist. I left enough room at the bicep to create an elastic casing and gathered the base for puffy sleeves. As with my blouse sleeves, the arm warmers are underlined with tulle for maximum puff.

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My gloves were far more of a hassle than I anticipated. I picked up a base brown pair from We Love Colors, but they weren’t quite brown enough. I attempted to dye them, but the dye didn’t take AT ALL and actually made the gloves lighter. I picked up a white pair instead and dyed them to a deep brown (2 parts brown dye, 1 part black) and that did the trick. Once the gloves were dyed, I cut off the fingers at the knuckles and hand stitched gold neoprene bands on the ends.

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The corset was my showpiece, and I spared no expense. Since Mami’s design is relatively simple, I went for an embossed floral vinyl from Mood and stained it to a deep chocolate color using Eco-Flo. The patterning is a lot to explain in one post (don’t worry, a more detailed write-up is coming soon), but essentially I made a closure to cover the busk using information from Lucy’s Corsetry and made a hidden lacing panel in the back that closes with a separating zipper. I made 2 corsets total: one using a floating strength layer and another using the welt seam approach. The welt seam approach was my final corset, since I made the first one just a hair too big. It makes me so sad the first one didn’t work out, because I used adorable lining fabric designed by Sparkle Pipsi! Maybe one day I’ll feel up to adding a lining to my second corset and buy more fabric. Both corsets use cotton coutil as the strength layer and use a combination of spiral and flat steel boning.

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Mami’s skirt has very noticeable box pleats, so I combined two full circle skirts and marked off 4″ box pleats with full returns and then skipped 4″ sections between pleats. The hem has 1″ horsehair braid, and the brown strip is chocolate peachskin cut on the bias. It took a little math to figure out, but essentially what I did was completely encase the horsehair braid so it’s not visible from the top or bottom of the skirt. Super clean for the win!

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For Mami’s thigh-highs, I used Yaya Han’s stockings/bootcovers pattern and some lovely ribbed knit from The Dangerous Ladies. The tops and bottoms have elastic in them for a super secure fit. I still had issues with my stockings falling down at A-Kon, so I stitched them to my dance tights for AX.

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I was pretty darn pleased with how my boots came out. I had a pair of chunky heels sitting in my closet, so painted them gold with Angelus paints, painted the heel and sole white with acrylic paint and gesso, and then made boot toppers out of the same fabric as my corset. To create the boot toppers, I used the duct tape/saran wrap patterning method, then made a mock-up of my boots to tweak fit issues. Once that was complete, I created the toppers and lined them out of gold leftover from my skirt. I glued the boot toppers to the base shoes using Shoe-Goo, but then went back in and hand sewed the base for aesthetic appeal. The white strips at the top are vinyl bias tape I found on Etsy, and the gold tabs are leftover material from Hannah.

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Another reason I chose Mami for this build was the chance to work on prop making. I love Mami’s rifles and wanted to flex my prop muscles here, so I did a lot of research on creating weapons out of foam. Kamui’s eBooks were an invaluable resource, as was the pattern vectorized by The Dangerous Ladies. This is another lengthy upcoming post, so the short version is that I made it from an EVA foam base, covered it with Worbla, used PVC pipe for the barrel, then primed it. I was running short on time at this point, so Storietellers took over painting for me.

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The bow was self drafted and mostly made out of looped tubes. It snaps onto my choker!

Final Thoughts:

All in all, I’m very pleased with this build. There are a few things I might do differently now that it’s complete and I know more, but that’s true of any build. I’m a bit sad I didn’t get a chance to compete with it, since I built it with that in mind, but there’s always next time.

Who’s your favorite character from Madoka Magica? 

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Costume Notes: Belle’s Town Dress (Provincial Life)

Photographer Credits: Mehreen Rizvi

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Completed: April 2018

Hours Spent: 40-ish

Debuted: Dallas Fan Expo

Why This Costume: If it isn’t totally obvious yet, Belle has been my favorite Disney princess forever! As I went into this year, I knew that I needed a few simpler and, more importantly, comfortable costumes for chill con days as well as days when I judge costume contests.

I’ve wanted to remake my Provincial Town dress for years now that I have a better handle on sewing. My decision to re-maker her now was due in large part to timing: Paige O’Hara, the original VA for Belle, was announced as a guest for Fan Expo, and I was also invited to speak at the Texas Library Association Annual Conference on using Makerspaces for cosplay. My presentation for TLA was on the same day and in the same location as Fan Expo, so it was a match made in Nerd Heaven!

Purchased Pieces: 

Patterns Used: 

Fabrics Used: 

Super Helpful Tutorials: 

How I Made it: 

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Okay, she was bundled up because it was freakishly cold, but still adorable!

I took a lot of inspiration for this version of Belle from the Parks costumes I saw at Walt Disney World earlier this year. I loved the turquoise color of the parks dress, and it was a perfect match for the blue Victoria Bane used for her Sailor Mercury (which is from Mood Fabrics, btw).

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I think eventually I’m going to have to make my husband Prince Adam’s outfit. Because… reasons.

I started by making the dress first. I went with the bodice of Simplicity 1606, which I used as the base for my wedding dress. Since I’d recently made this bodice, I had my alterations ready to go, with the exception of squaring up the neckline (check out the Sewaholic Cambie link above for a quick and easy way to do this).

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Like my wedding dress, this is a very structured bodice: there’s an interfaced satin fashion layer, an interlining made from coutil with German plastic boning at each seam, and a lining layer made out of some fun Belle themed cotton from Jo-Ann’s (I picked it up on a whim several months ago). Once all the layers were assembled, I made some straps and stitched them in the bodice back between the fashion and lining layers, leaving gaps in the front of the bodice to slide the straps in and adjust the length before permanently stitching them down.

The skirt is a full circle skirt I drafted using Mood’s handy skirt calculator! I wanted something extra swishy and princess-y, and a full circle skirt was just the right solution. Since my skirt was so long, I had to cut it in two pieces, which gave me the perfect excuse to sew in in-seam pockets for my phone and other miscellaneous items I had on hand. Tip: make sure to press your pockets at every stage of construction or, quite frankly, they’ll look like ladies’ genitals. I finished my skirt with 1″ horsehair braid to give it a little extra body. I opted not to line the skirt since eventually I’ll get around to making a petticoat for this costume as well.

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When you’re too time-pressed to make a craft store run, you make due with invisible zippers on hand!

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The blouse is my go-to McCall’s pattern I’ve used for basically all my princess seam tops over the last year. I used white peachskin from Online Fabric Store, which is the same stuff I used for Mami last year. This fabric is pretty sheer, so I underlined all of my pieces with the exception of the sleeves. I made my standard length adjustments, and used the View A sleeve lengthened ever so slightly to accommodate a 3/8″ elastic casing. The sleeves are still a bit shorter than I’d like, so I’m going to add a longer elastic casing for a bit of extra length before I wear this again.

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To get an appropriate neckline, I drafted a shawl collar. I like this so much better than my last version of Belle! Attaching the neckline was a bit finnicky, so be sure to check out a few tutorials on this if shawl collars are new to you.

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For the apron, I made a lined rectangle made of the same peachskin I used for my blouse. After flipping it inside out and topstitching the edges, I butted the unfinished edge of the rectangle in an interfaced faux-belt and topstitched the edges. The belt closes with snaps, and I made a butt-bow using our Cosmic Coterie pattern and tutorial that also snaps onto the waistband. I recently had a client request a more canon set of Supers bow tails (i.e., without jabots), so I used the same tail pattern to create these for Belle. I might make the tails a bit shorter in the future. I haven’t decided if I like these or not.

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For the final touches, I made a bow using Cosmic Coterie’s Venus hair bow that snaps on a band around the ponytail.

While working on this, I also was mixing resin brooches for myself and Victoria Bane. I had a small jewelry mold, so I poured a few pieces to make some earrings for Belle. I also had a blue Beauty and the Beast book purse I picked up from Hot Topic for my WDW trip, so I used that as my prop in a few of the photos Mehreen took!

Final Thoughts: 

This was such a rewarding build, even if it was a speedy one (I knocked it out in about a week and a half). Meeting Paige O’Hara was a wonderful experience, and while I do have a few things I need to revisit with this costume, I’m so happy with how it turned out!

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Me and Victoria Bane meeting Paige O’Hara! ❤

Who’s your favorite Disney Princess? 

Costume Notes: Sailor Uranus

Photographer Credits: Mehreen Rizvi

 

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Completed: April 2018

Hours Spent: 25-ish

Debuted: Fan Expo Dallas

Why This Costume: Space Cadet Cosplay and I have talked about making Sailor Uranus and Neptune since before either of us joined Cosmic Coterie. Late last year, our teammate Victoria Bane mentioned she wanted to make a new Sailor Pluto, then AdventTraitor mentioned she wanted to make a Sailor Saturn, so we kind of stumbled our way into a full outer senshi group!

Purchased Pieces: 

Fabric Used: 

  • Telio Navy Satin (donated by Koholint Cosplay)
  • Mystery poly satin from my fabric stash
  • Matte Casa Satin in Eclipse from Jo-Ann’s. I ran out of Telio satin when I got to my collar, so I found a close substitute!
  • Dull tricot from We Love Colors

Patterns Used: 

Super Helpful Tutorials: 

How I Made it: 

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I’ve made about a billion fukus at this point, so I’m not going to go crazy in-depth on this post other than to comment on a few special tweaks and challenges I encountered with this build.

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The first pieces I made for this build were my bows! I adore this gorgeous Telio fabric.

One of my on-going issues with my builds (and specifically fukus) is that I tend to prioritize commissions and group builds for others over my own stuff, so as a result, a lot of my fukus haven’t turned out exactly how I wanted. This time around, I worked on pieces periodically between commissions and actually did a couple of mock-ups on pieces I’ve had issues with before.

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To start, I knocked out the satin pieces. I almost always ease into a new fuku by starting with the bows and the collar, and this one was no exception. Victoria Bane drafted a new collar for us over at Cosmic Coterie, and, being the giant that I am, I had to make a few adjustments for it to fit on my frame. I *may* go back and make it a touch wider, but it’s close enough to my desired width that I’m not being too picky about it for now.

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Mocking-up my collar. I lengthened the tails by about 3″ and used the slash-and-spread method to widen the entire thing by another 1.5″. 

 

For this fuku, I lengthened my bodice by 2″ like normal, but I’ve had issues with it pulling in the past. This time, I also added an inch to my bloomers and it fits SO MUCH BETTER.

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With my last Jupiter, I also cut my hip roll way too small. This time, to keep it more proportionate to my sizing, I cut the width at 5″ as opposed to 4″ used in the Coterie tutorial, giving me closer to 1.5″ width on my final hip roll. I like the look a lot better on me.

 

Probably the weirdest part of making classic Uranus and Neptune is their angled glove rolls. I have to give a massive shout-out to Katie Cosplays for her tips on this! She recommended cutting the angles on the true bias, and with some careful finangling, I was able to squeeze upholstery piping into the channels for my gloves. The only thing I’m not really happy with on these is how far they tend to stick out when wearing them. I may hand tack them to my gloves or see about re-making them at some point. Either way, tutorial coming soon!

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Base boots prior to painting and alterations.

To finish this build up, I bought a pair of boots from Sheikh shoes and painted them with a combination of navy and black paints from Angleus leather. The “belts” are scraps of stretch vinyl I had on hand that were a pretty close match. I made faux belts and glued them to the base shoe with Barge.

 

I also resin casted mine and Victoria Bane’s brooches using tips from the amazing Daydreamer Nessa’s tutorial! I need to re-cast these, unfortunately. The size is perfect, but my silicone mold was way to floppy, so the resin settled at the base and created a flat portion. The colors are perfect, though!

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Also, shout-out to my teammate Victoria Bane for styling my wig so I could finish this costume as well as Belle!

Final Thoughts: 

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There are definitely a few things I want to fix on this costume, namely buying some new boots that don’t murder my feet, shortening the skirt hem, and assembling my Space Sword kit from Rawrbomb, but overall I think this is one of my best fukus yet! I can’t wait to tweak her and wear her with my Cosmic Coterie ladies ❤

Who’s your favorite outer senshi? 

 

Costume Notes: Casual Rogue

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Photographer Credits: Mehreen Rizvi Photography

Completed: 2016

Hours Spent: 5

Debuted: Fan Days 2017

Why This Costume: For a long time, I’ve said that I need more geek chic outfits for chill and judging days at conventions. When I was asked to judge at Fan Days last fall, I was stumped on what to wear. I wanted to be comfortable, but still wear my work. I’d made this dress as a stashbuster project in late 2016, and with a little accessorizing, I pulled together a new comfy con outfit!

Purchased Pieces: 

Patterns Used: 

How I Made it: 

This was a fairly straightforward project. I used the Davie dress from Sewaholic and sewed it up in the same materials as my Rogue bodysuit. I made the same alterations as I did on my last dress, making sure to take up the armhole a bit. For a little extra flair, I hemmed the skirt with 1/2″ horsehair braid.

To create the rest of the ensemble, I raided my other Rogue costumes. I used my go-to Rogue wig (which is just about at the end of its life, sadly), the jacket I made for Kotobukiya Rogue, pulled out some green tights I purchased for a Poison Ivy costume that never happened, and wore my green flats I maid for Sailor Ariel.

Thoughts on this build: 

All in all, this was a nice palate cleanser. Next time I need to pay more attention to how my lines look under my costume (nothing like muffin top tights!), but it fit the bill for a comfy and cute judging costume.

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Me and some of the judges at Fan Days! Left to right: me, Mica Burton, HonorLychee, Chaks Productions, and Imaginary FX.

Do you have a go-to geek chic outfit? 

Costume Notes: DAN Yusuke Kitagawa (P5 )

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 Completed: August 2017

Hours Spent: Under 5

Debuted: A-Fest 2017

Why This Costume: P5 took over my life in 2017. I love everything about this absurd game, and I’m so glad I was able to drag Koholint into fandom hell with me. AdventTraitor Cosplay is also a huge fan of the game, and we decided to be ridiculous garbage and make the DAN outfits of our favorite boys for evening costumes.

Purchased Pieces: 

Patterns Used: 

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When you and your friends are garbage and all buy light up shoes.

How I Made it: 

This was mostly a purchase/closet build. The only things I made were the leggings and headband. The leggings were made with my go-to leggings pattern, which took about an hour to sew start to finish. The headband was pretty much sewn as an infinity scarf reduced down to match my head measurements. It took maybe 30 minutes or so to make.

I initially planned to do a full crossplay of this costume, but decided last minute to just do a fem!Yusuke since I didn’t allow enough time to practice full crossplay makeup before A-Fest. Now that I have a binder, I might try for real!

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Thoughts on this build: 

This was such a dumb build and I love it so much. We took so many stupid photos. I had hoped to do a shoot with Koholint and AdventTraitor at Round One after A-Fest, but I wound up missing due to a scheduling conflict. One day I’ll take proper pictures of my ridiculous lobster boy!

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Praise dat Akechi booty. Cosplayers left to right: me, AdventTraitor, Jinxie Cosplay, & Koholint Cosplay.

Do you have a favorite silly costume? Feel free to share it below!

A Very Nerdy Wedding Dress

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Photographer Credits: Simply in Love Photography

Completed: December 2017

Accessories: 

Hair and Makeup: Cocoa Beach Spa

Patterns Used: 

How I Made it: 

A huge moment in any person’s life is their wedding. When my now husband proposed a little over a year ago, one of my toughest early decisions was whether or not to make my own wedding dress. I had a fairly specific vision in mind, but I also know myself and knew that I’d likely paralyze myself with indecision.

2017 was also an incredibly difficult year for me creatively, so when it came time to buckle down and really work on wedding planning, I decided to take the easier path and purchase a dress. I located a wedding dress maker on Etsy who had a design fairly similar to the dress I wanted for a rather reasonable price. I scoured her reviews and found nothing but good feedback, so I pulled the trigger, sent her my money and measurements, and let her do her thing. Or so I thought.

Around Thanksgiving 2017, I was going over my wedding checklist and realized I hadn’t heard anything from my dressmaker since I placed my order. I’ve had my fair share of experience with lackluster cosplay commissions (and fixing said situations for other people), so I reached out for a follow-up. My requested delivery date came and went with no response. I reached out again and realized that my dress hadn’t even been started. The dressmaker was apologetic and swore up and down I’d have my dress for the wedding, but I started preparing for the worst by gathering up materials and setting aside patterns. The dress I purchased arrived about two weeks before my wedding day and it was… bad. The fit was bad, there was no boning to be found, and the bodice didn’t appear to have any interfacing in it. Nearly all of my custom requests were forgotten as well. Thankfully the seller was quick to refund the money, but I found myself in a really tight spot: barely fifteen days until my wedding (even less until we had to fly out to Florida) and no wedding dress to show. So I cleared off my craft table and got to work.

Let’s move forward to the actual construction of this dress. I didn’t have a lot of time to second guess myself with barely 2 weeks to construct the dress, so I defaulted to the design I had in mind for ages: a Cambie style bodice with a super full skirt and a chiffon overlay.

Again, since I didn’t have a lot of time to second guess myself, I went with fabric my friends offered me from their fabric stashes (I seriously have the best friends in Cosmic Coterie <3) or stuff I could find at my local Jo-Ann’s. The base fabric was white casa satin and the chiffon overlay was also white from the casa line. My interlining layer was unbleached cotton coutil I ordered from Richard the Thread for some of my corsets this year. The lining of the bodice was the stained glass fabric cotton from Jo-Ann’s, and my skirt lining was a soft lilac Casa satin.

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This bodice lining makes me so happy.
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Skirt lining!

After making a quick mock-up of the bodice using Simplicity 1606 as a guide, I dove straight into this build. The bodice came together fairly quickly. For the fashion layer, I underlined the interfaced satin pieces to the chiffon and serged all the edges prior to sewing.

The back portion of the bodice was a little trickier. The chiffon layer is free-floating, but since I still needed to finish the edges of the neckline and the sleeves, I did a double layer of chiffon with French seams all around. The back of the bodice connects to the lining at the top, and then the sides connect to the front with a standard straight seam.

This gave me a tricky challenge I didn’t initially account for: the back bodice of the Cambie wasn’t quite designed for what I had in mind, and the arm hole was about a half inch too high. to fix this situation, I carefully trimmed down the arm hole, finished it with a zig-zag stitch, and covered the edges with a cute rose and faux pearl trim I found at Jo-Ann’s. I opted to put the zipper in the side since I wanted a clean and clear view of my back for photos.

For the interlining layer, I added German plastic boning to all the seams as well as the center front and center back. To keep life somewhat simple for myself, I used some spare grosgrain ribbon I had on hand to create the boning channels.

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Whomp whomp. Didn’t work quite how I hoped.

The skirts were… interesting. For the lining layer, I drafted a half circle skirt to prevent potential wardrobe malfunctions on the beach. This layer was originally an aqua blue (one of my wedding colors), but the blue was too visible under the white. I instead went with a soft lilac (my other wedding color), which was perfect.

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When your seam matching is on point!

The white satin layer was a full circle skirt, and the chiffon layer was a gathered double circle skirt. I finished the lining and interlining layers with half inch horsehair braid and the chiffon layer with a rolled hem on my serger.

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We’re not going to talk about how many times I went over this hem.

One of the final touches on my dress was a belt and butt bow. I wanted to incorporate the lovely lilac fabric Koholint gave me, and I also decided to add a butt bow at the last minute. I adore the slim jabot tails NyuNyu cosplay came up with for her Super Mercury, so I drafted up a set of my own for my dress. And because it was for my wedding, I decided to hotfix 300+ Swarovski crystals to it. Because bling.

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Patterning out the tails.
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Bling.
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Even more bling!

The final pieces I made to accompany my dress were a matching bow clutch (the lining is scraps from the Beauty and the Beast stained glass fabric) and a lovely satin stole made from dress remnants. While the weather during the wedding was incredible at a perfect 70 degrees, a cold front came in as soon as the sun set. I was quite grateful to have something to keep me warm!

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Thoughts on this dress:

The stress of knocking out this dress two weeks before the wedding was hell. There’s absolutely no question about that. I’ll admit to several tearful breakdowns, a panic attack, and stress-induced vomiting during that time period. It wasn’t pretty.

This experience was also a great reminder for me on handling commissions. The way the whole situation was handled with my original dress was horrid, and it reaffirmed my desire to provide the best customer experience possible for my clients.

But at the end of the day, I have a sentimental story to share about this dress, and I’m far happier with it than I ever would have been about the dress I originally purchased.

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Selfie with our wedding guests!

Have you made your own wedding dress? What was  your experience like? 

Guest Post: Rosette Christopher by Koholint Cosplay

Header photo BTSEPhoto

Hey folks! Today I’m doing something a little different. My cosplay partner-in-crime Koholint wrote an extensive breakdown of how she constructed her Rosette from Chrono Crusade for a costume contest last year. She doesn’t have a blog, so I’m sharing her notes over here!

Be sure to check out her social media for more amazing costumes, and check out our duo builds on Caffeine Schemes Cosplay!

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Rosette was a big project for me, partly because the outfit has so many pieces, and partly because she’s been a dream cosplay of mine for a very long time. I picked up the Chrono Crusade manga when I was about 15, and Rosette immediately became one of my favorite characters of all time. Finally having the skill set and confidence to cosplay her almost 10 years later was beyond special – it was a dream come true! Rosette was debuted at Anime North Texas 2016.

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Figure A: Rosette Reference no.1
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Figure B: Rosette Reference no.2
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Figure C: Rosette Reference no.3

I made nearly every piece of Rosette’s outfit from scratch – sewing is my greatest strength when it comes to cosplay, and I love learning and applying new techniques to my builds. I also love to interpret outfits in a “realistic” way – sometimes outfits just wouldn’t work the same way in real life as they do in a manga, or sometimes little details don’t make sense. (Not to mention contending with inconsistent reference art!) Rosette’s outfit was fun to interpret for “real life”, since her clothes are meant to be utilitarian – she’s a nun in an organization called the Order of Magdalene, which is essentially a group of exorcists. She mostly does field work, and her outfit reflects that – she’s supposed to be able to move fast, as well as shoot things and carry bullets and other supplies, so I planned her outfit with that in mind.

I did a ton of research on actual nun habits, too. Her costume is much more revealing and “anime” than any real nun habit, but I gleaned some technical construction info and the names for the different pieces of her outfit from forums for nuns. (Yes, apparently, there are such things as chat forums for nuns! And their comments were pretty helpful, too!)

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Figure D: Fabric waiting to be sewn! It was all prewashed and ready to go at this point.

After doing my research and planning, I got to work. I started out by heavily modifying a pattern (McCall’s 7352), since it was a princess seam dress pattern and Rosette has princess seams on her dress. I used this pattern as the base for her blue dress and her underbust back brace. The dress is made of a blue synthetic grosgrain fabric, which I went to the Dallas Fabric District to find – it was a remnant and ended up being just barely enough! The dress pattern was simple: I modified the plain sleeves of the pattern by using the slash-n-spread method to create puff sleeves, and then cut off the base pattern at the waist so I could add the front and back flaps more easily. Since I had a limited amount of fabric and the waist seam was going to be hidden by the back brace, I didn’t mind having a seam there. It also made the dress a little bit easier to make.

The dress was fully lined to the waist; the flaps were not lined because they didn’t appear to be lined in the manga, nor did I want to change the drape of the grosgrain fabric. The flaps were finished with a double-fold hem. The dress zips up with two invisible zippers: one at the side, and one at the center back. I couldn’t extend the back zipper beyond the waist line, since I didn’t want a seam on the back flap, so the discreet side zipper lets me slip into the dress, and the back zipper lets me get my head through the neck hole.

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Figure E: My sketch of her dress, showing zipper placement in red

The waist brace is made like a boned bodice; I call it a “brace”, even though a lot of people interpret it as a corset. I just didn’t think a demon-slaying nun would wear a corset, nor does it ever cinch Rosette’s waist in, so it made the most sense to me to call it a “brace”. It’s definitely a strange piece, though – the shape is reminiscent of an underbust corset with shoulder straps.

The fashion fabric is denim, since I thought the fabric looked utilitarian enough to be appropriate, and vinyl or pleather seemed out of place based on reference artwork. I patterned the brace by using a mockup of the same pattern I used for the dress – I drew the shapes I wanted while it was on my body, and then cut on these lines to make a pattern from it. The brace has three layers: the outer fashion fabric is an off-while cotton denim, the inner “support” layer is flowery cotton twill, and the lining is a thin white cotton. I put rigilene boning in all the vertical seams of the support layer to help keep the shape of the brace. The brace zips up at the back. For the details (hanging straps and horizontal front straps), I used purchased belting and spray-painted some plastic parachute buckles.

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Figure F: The guts of the back brace – specifically, the flower-patterned cotton support layer with Rigilene boning!

The brace is the piece I made the most modifications to from the reference art. First, I left the seams from the princess seam pattern as-is; part of it was just thinking they looked pretty, and part of it was that the seams were a convenient place to add straps in the front. In the reference art, the brace has two random rectangles in the front; I didn’t like that much, so I added belting and a parachute buckle to make them seem like they belonged there. The vertical seams let me attach the belting in a way that visually made sense, even though the buckles still don’t do much except look pretty. I also scratch-drafted the “ribbed” strap details hanging from the bottom of the brace, and then underlined them with fleece to make the topstitched details more 3D. When the straps were finished, I went over them again with a thicker topstitch thread to add even more emphasis to the details.

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Figure G: A collage I made for Instagram, showing the topstitched details of the ribbed front flaps.
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Figure H: Trying on the finished back brace with my work-in-progress dress!
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Figure I: A cleanly-finished and fully lined back brace!

I scratch-drafted the veil and wimple. The veil is made of the same blue grosgrain fabric as the dress; the white on the dress, veil, and wimple is all a white mystery fabric that has a slight peachskin texture to it; it reminds me of a thick sateen with a peachskin face. The veil was a simple half-circle attached to an interfaced rectangle, and it has a couple of discreet elastic straps that keep it on my head. (I used the advice of forum-posting nuns to go with the half-circle shape)!

The veil was cleanly hemmed using a double-fold hem – since circular double-fold hems are a little trickier, I used the “stitch the fold lines and iron them” technique.

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Figure J: Hemming the veil. The white guide stitches were later removed.

The wimple took a little bit of trial-and-error to get the proper pattern for. The collar of the wimple is stuffed with quilting batting to give it the “puffed” look it has in the manga. The black detailing is some black piping I found in my stash. The wimple opens in the front with a regular separating zipper, and is also fully lined.

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Figure K: Work-in-progress wimple, with the black piping ready to be sewn on.  
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Figure L: Nearly finished wimple with the rest of the work-in-progress pieces!

The green pouches (two in front, one in back) were scratch-drafted too, and attach to the belting hanging from the bottom front of the brace with snaps. The green fabric is a green linen I found at Joann; I liked that the color and texture reminded me of army pouches from the World Wars, and since Chrono Crusade takes place between them (in the roaring 20s), I felt it gave the pouches the “right” look. The pouches are supported with heavy interfacing and are lined with the same cotton twill as the brace. This means that when you open any of the pouches, they have pink flowers inside… it’s a little silly, but I felt Rosette’s character would like that detail, so that’s why I didn’t try to find a plainer/green underlining. (She’s canonically shown to like girly things!) The black straps on the front pouches were made of grosgrain ribbon and more purchased plastic buckles, making the pouches fully functional. The back pouch is also fully functional and closes by means of a single snap.

My friend Samantha (and fellow Chrono Crusade fan) helped me with fabric cutting and brainstorming on both the pouches and bootcovers, since I was running out of time and she likes learning cosplay stuff from me. Her help was invaluable in speeding up the process of making both! (All the sewing was still me )

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Figure M: Pouch lining pieces and interfacing laid out.
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Figure N: Work-in-progress shot of one of the front pouches.
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Figure O: Nearly finished pouches! The black straps hadn’t yet been sewn on, and the small pouch is missing its snap.

I scratch-drafted the bootcovers using the “cover shoe with tissue paper and masking tape” technique, and then glued them to a pair of base boots I bought on Amazon with Samantha’s help (two hands are better than one for this kind of thing)! They are made of a soft brown vinyl with a little bit of interfacing to help them stand up. The “metal” details on the boots were made from heat-molded craft foam, which I sealed with Mod Podge and then spraypainted silver. I glued the toe piece directly to the bootcover, but I glued the front ankle strap to a piece of ribbon that connected to some metal triangle connectors (it makes more sense in the photo below). The black straps on the boots are real leather and also attach to triangular metal connectors. I bought the triangles on Amazon. Finally, the leather straps had silver studs punched on.

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Figure P: Another Instagram collage, showing progress on the boots.

The gloves were modified from Butterick B5370 and are made of the same soft brown vinyl as the bootcovers. They were sewn completely by hand, except for the joining of the white band on the top of the glove.

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Figure Q: Nearly finished gloves, before being turned right-side-out!
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Figure R: Finished gloves! (Except for the “metal” pieces across the back!)

The We Love Colors thigh-highs needed just one modification: the black rectangle patch, which was glued on with fabric glue while I was wearing them to ensure a perfect look.

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Figure S: Photo by BTSEphoto. Here you can see the black rectangles on the top of the WLC thigh highs!

There are some details of Rosette that I did not make myself. Since she was a dream cosplay, I wanted every detail to be perfect; therefore, I commissioned friends to make the guns, the pocket watch necklace, and the gold “badges” on the sleeves and gloves. The guns and pocket watch were made by Mushety Props, and the badges were made by Callula Cosplay.

The guns are modified BB guns (chosen because they look like the actual model guns used as reference by the manga’s author), and the watch was 3D printed and hand-painted. The badges began as craft foam shapes, which were then molded and cast out of resin. The “paint” on the badges is cold-cast with a bronze finish, so it won’t chip off or flake. We heat-molded the badges until they curved appropriately for where I wanted to place them, and then I glued Velcro to the badges and hand-stitched Velcro to the sleeves in order to attach them. (I opted to make the badges removable for the sake of being able to machine wash the dress.)

Callula cast me two cross badges and four oval badges. Two ovals were for the sleeves, and two were for the gloves. I left the sleeve ovals as-is, but for the ones on the gloves, I cut the ends off the ovals to make them rectangular. Next, I glued half a plastic pearl onto the ends to simulate the “screws” that show up on the reference photos. I painted the pearls with a gold paint pen, then glued the badges directly onto the gloves.

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Figure T: Placement test of the sleeve badges. They had not yet been heat formed to curve around the sleeves better.
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Figure U: Photo I snapped of the props when Mushety kindly delivered them to me.

The wig is an Arda Wigs “Eowyn” in the color “Pale Blonde”. It didn’t need much styling: I trimmed it shorter with a razor, and then fluffed up the bangs with a little heat and hairspray. Since she’s a nun, I figured she probably wouldn’t wear makeup at all, so I kept my look toned-down and “natural”. The most difficult part of her makeup was coloring my eyebrows – I have thick, dark eyebrows, and changing them to blond is a challenge. I used a technique I’ve figured out that uses a combination of yellow eyeshadow and colored eyebrow mascara to lighten them.

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Figure V: Dorky selfie from my photoshoot, showing my “plain style” makeup. It was super windy that day!
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Figure W: Photo by BTSEphoto, showing the entirety of my cosplay! Chrono (in red) is my friend Asanoyass on Instagram

The build time for Rosette was roughly three weeks, and I’m extremely pleased with the result. It was super cold the day I debuted her, though, so someday I hope to wear her again when I won’t freeze my butt off!

PROP CREDITS

  • Mushety Props: @mushety on Instagram
  • Callula Cosplay: @danbeth349 on Instagram, Callula Cosplay on Facebook

PHOTOGRAPHER CREDITS

MY SOCIAL MEDIA

Costume Notes: Makoto Nijima (Persona 5)

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Photographer Credits: Ash Snap ‘Em

Completed: 

  • Summer Uniform: June 2017
  • Winter Uniform: November 2017

Hours Spent: 20-ish

Debuted:

  • Summer Uniform: AX 2017
  • Winter Uniform: Technically not yet? I’ve only worn it for a photoshoot.

Why This Costume:

I’ve been interested in Persona 5 ever since Atlus started teasing its release. When the concept art came out, I was certain that Futaba was going to be my main girl. I was mildly surprised when Makoto quickly snatched my heart (hehehe).

After my husband finished his run-through, I immediately started playing and got Koholint back for dragging me into Code Geass hell. AdventTraitor Cosplay also got into P5 around the same time, so we decided to bust out summer uniforms as chill costumes for Anime Expo!

But because one P5 costume isn’t enough, we also decided to make the winter uniforms once the craziness of summer con season was over.

Purchased Pieces: 

  • Contacts: Etia Coeur
  • Wig: Arda Magnum in Spanish Brown with clip-in braid
  • Loafers: Wal-Mart
  • Boots: Amazon
  • Turtleneck: Amazon
  • Patch: Etsy
  • Fabric: Spoonflower
  • Black leggings: Target
  • Black tights: Target
  • Shujin fabric: Luluko on Spoonflower

Patterns Used: 

  • Halter: McCall’s 7373 (heavily modified)
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Stalking them Phantom Thieves. Photo taken by Tani Cosplay at AX!

How I Made it: 

Let’s start with the skirt since that was the first piece I knocked out with this build. Koholint and I sampled several different fabric types from Spoonflower before ultimately settling on a heavy twill. We pre-shrunk the fabric by steaming to prevent crocking and dye fading, which is a common issue with Spoonflower prints.

One of the things I absolutely love about this fabric is that the grid lines create a great template for measuring and pressing pleats. It was really just a matter of matching up the stripes! I wanted a curved waistband for a better fit, so I snatched the waistband from the Colette Juniper pants.

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Hawaiian Vacation P5 at AX!

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My belt was a really quick project. I had some leftover black vinyl, so I folded the ends over, topstitched the lines (visible in some of the art books), and sewed it onto a fashion belt buckle that I spray painted gold.

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Joker leggie forever.

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For the summer top, I pulled a white button up top from my closet, hacked off the long sleeves and used the remaining sleeve to create cuffs. I made the neck logo out of some scrap vinyl and attacked it with fusible web. It was a little clunky, so I ordered a more accurate patch off of Etsy for future wears.

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Initial mock-up (and when I saw that I desperately needed to fill out my dress form)
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Much better on the body 🙂

To create Makoto’s winter uniform, I purchased a white turtleneck and made the vest using materials generously donated by Koholint Cosplay. I snagged the bodice portion off of McCall’s 7373, which has basically become my go-to pattern for a princess seam top. I also extended center front side over for the button holes. To make the top more accurate, I lopped off the halter piece and added the gold buttons and connectors.

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Almost there…
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Boots, boots, boots.

Thoughts on this build: 

Persona owns me LOL. This was such a nice break after the madness that was our Cosmic Coterie Madoka build last year. It was nice to have a project that was simple for AX, since we only had about 3 weeks between A-Kon and AX.

I’m also happy that we were able to cosplay from P5! This game has quickly become one of my top JRPGs (I’m about 120-ish hours in on NG+), and we have LOTS more cosplay plans for this coming year! To keep up with all of mine and Koholint’s P5 plans, be sure to check out our new duo account: Caffeine Schemes Cosplay. Now to start on the Phantom Thieves outfits… *panic sweats*

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Have you played Persona 5? Who’s your favorite character? 

Costume Notes: Cornelia li Britannia (Code Geass)

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Photographer Credits: 

Completed: October 2017

Hours Spent: Approximately 50

Why This Costume: Koholint Cosplay and I have this habit of dragging each other into various fandom hells. She nailed my cosplay type so hard with this one, and then surprised me by buying me season one. I started watching, got hooked, and now I’ll be making Code Geass stuff until the day I die.

Purchased/Closet Pieces: 

Patterns Used: 

Super Helpful Tutorials: 

How I Made it: 

This build was kind of a stupid challenge. I started working on it in July 2017 with the intention of finishing for A-Fest. Long story short, I was insanely burned out at the end of the summer and ran into issues trying some new techniques, so I tabled it until after I wrapped up my commissions for this year.

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Dat booty fit right out of the package.

My first step in making this costume was the pants. Really I just wanted to play with the fabric. It’s a GORGEOUS Tommy Hilfiger wool garbadine from Mood fabrics. As soon as I spotted it back in March, I knew I had to buy it for this build. I had Butterick 5895 in my stash for ages and was so excited to try it out. I lengthened the pants a bit (see: A LOT) and also eliminated the pockets since I didn’t want to interrupt the silhouette with extra seams and bulk. I also moved the zipper from the back to the side. I thought this was a brilliant idea until I went to shoot this and it gave me dumb issues, including some seams popping when I went to sit down on a bench. For my next shoot, I’ll move the zipper to the back seam to eliminate pressure on the hip.

Even with that issue, I ADORE the fit of these in the bum. IT’S SO GOOD. I do still need to make some tweaks overall on the leg fit at some point (PSSSTTTT… Mood, bring this fabric back so I can make more pants!).

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Patterning out the tails with paper first.

After knocking out the pants, I started patterning the jacket. I started by using the base of McCall’s 7373 since I knew it fit me well from Mami. From there, I hacked off my muslin to the waist and started draping the tailcoats with paper to get an idea of how to pattern. Once I was satisfied with my initial go, I made another mock-up to test the fit. Once I tweaked a few issues, it was time to move on to the real thing!

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Mock-up with the tails!

To give the coat the gravity-defying tails, I treated the coat as a heavily constructed bodice with a lining, interlining, and fashion layer. The interlining is various pieces of hodgepodged cotton twill (generously donated by Koholint Cosplay) that I interfaced. Each seam has boning (lots of various types since I was mostly stashbusting) and 3″ horsehair is sewn into the hem to help hold it in place. After seeing the pictures from the shoot, I think I need to add rigeline to a few spaces between the seams to help hold it in place better.

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Before boning and horsehair braid…
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After boning and horsehair braid

Once the interlining was complete, I basted it to the lining (made from old Pluto satin) and treated it as one piece. The lining uses the sleeve from view A of McCall’s 7373. As with Mami, I stitched the puffy exterior sleeve (which is flatlined with tulle) to the shorter sleeve to create more volume in the upper sleeves.

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One of many failed attempts.

The gold applique on the fashion layer gave me such a headache. I tried a few different techniques to get more of a 3D effect, but most of them failed miserably, so I went to a tried and true applique technique: Heat and Bond and satin stitching. It’s not perfect, but it’s by far the cleanest approach I tried. The gold detailing on the front and back is gold vinyl from Yaya Han’s fabric collection at Jo-Ann’s. Once the applique was on the front, I topstitched pre-made bias tape onto the gold and then hand sewed all the buttons onto the jacket.

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It’s starting to look like a real thing!

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The cuffs were self-drafted and self-lined. The back piece on both sides has lightweight interfacing, and is stitched to the sleeve with the gold button. I went back and forth on whether to make the gloves as toppers or if I wanted to attach them to the jacket, and ultimately went with the jacket for fewer pieces.

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The cravat is more of a “fake” piece. I tried making a more traditional cravat, but it lead to far too much bulk at the neck. Instead, I cut a piece of satin on the bias, gave it a narrow hem, then gathered the cravat at the top. As of right now, it just tucks into the neck, but I’ll add snaps for next time.

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My original plan for this build was to alter some boots I had on hand, but I realized too late that I didn’t have white leather/pleather paint on hand. Even with Prime shipping, I knew I wouldn’t have enough time to paint before my shoot, so I drafted up some quickie boot covers using the saran wrap method. They’re… okay. I’m definitely planning to revisit these in the future.

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Test swatches for DAAAAYYYYSSSS
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Straight out of the dye bath.
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After washing and dyeing.

The wig was kind of a crazy challenge. Cornelia has an odd fuschia hair color that is more pink than purple, but after searching high and low for months, I couldn’t find a wig color that really worked for her. So instead, I dyed it! I referred to Arda’s wig dyeing tutorial (linked above) and advice from Victoria Bane. Essentially, I took a white wig, mixed pink and purple iDye Poly together and dropped my wig in for about 5 seconds. From there, I washed the wig out a few times, let it dry, and restyled it. Next time I shoot this, I’d like to add a few extra wefts, especially around the front of the wig and tease the base to get some super CLAMP style volume.

Thoughts on this Build: 

Aside from a few fixes here and there, this has honestly been one of the most gratifying builds I made in 2017. I’m really happy with how almost everything turned out, and I’m so excited to cosplay more stuff from this series! Hopefully I can get around to making her gunblade and ridiculous cape next time I shoot this costume. I can’t wait to start on R2 stuff with Koholint!

Are you a fan of Code Geass? Who’s your favorite character? 

Costume Notes: Grandma Rick (Rick and Morty)

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Photographer Credits: 

  • Yogomi

Completed: April 2017

Hours Spent: Maybe 5?

Debuted: Dallas Fan Expo 2017

Why This Costume: One thing I’m terrible about making is comfortable costumes. Most of my builds are meant to be show pieces, so when I was approached to judge the contest at Fan Expo earlier this year, I knew I wanted to put something together that was quick, easy, and most important: comfortable enough to be in for 10+ hours.

Purchased/Closet Pieces: 

Patterns Used: 

Super Helpful Tutorials: 

How I Made it: 

Again, this costume was chosen with speed and comfort in mind. The lab coat was a purchase for my fiance a few years ago from an after-Halloween sale at a Spirit Halloween store. He never wound up using it, so I took it for this build. It was a Men’s 3X, so I turned it inside out, pinned where I wanted it to taper at the sides for a more feminine look, and serged off the excess at the sides. The sleeves were also ridiculously long, so I measured where my wrist ended, cut off the excess, and hemmed the new sleeves.

To create the skirt, I pulled some brown knit fabric that had been sitting in my fabric stash for a while. Gertie’s pencil skirt pattern was a great start, but I had to take it in a fair amount since I was working with a knit instead of a woven. The material was a bit thin, so I underlined it with the same knit fabric. I hemmed the skirt with a twin needle and finished off the waistband with folded under elastic. I’ve seen a lot of skirts finished off this way in stores, and it’s such a fast way to make an easy skirt or even leggings!

To finish this costume off, I commissioned a wig from the lovely Victoria Bane since I was swamped with other stuff and she’s amazing at wig styling.

I re-used my belt from Makoto Nijima’s (P5) summer uniform. Write-up on that build coming soon!

Thoughts on this Build: 

I had such a blast running around as Grandma Rick! While I was at Fan Expo, I challenged all the Ricks to a contest of the Rickest Rick lol.

My friend Frank Yogomi spotted me at the con and mentioned some ideas for a photoshoot. I’m so happy Koholint Cosplay was able to join me for it! She makes such a cute Morticia (Morty) and we had a blast being campy and ridiculous. She made the “alien” headbands out of pipe cleaner, headbands, and Christmas ornaments.

Are you a fan of Rick and Morty? Who’s your favorite character? 

Madoka Magica: Madoka’s Petticoat & Skirt

Almost as soon as Cosmic Coterie officially decided to tackle Madoka Magica for our big build this year, Koholint and I started brainstorming Madoka. We split the labor so that Koho took the upper half of Madoka and I took the lower half. I’ve followed several Madoka cosplayers over the years, and I was absurdly excited about making that ridiculous donut skirt.

The Petticoat

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My first step in tackling my portion of Madoka was the petticoat. That giant donut skirt needed a support structure for the floof, so I turned to Jessie Pridemore‘s Madoka petticoat tutorial as a starting point. There are 10+ fabric layers total in the petticoat: 5 layers of chiffon circle skirts with serger-gathered satin ribbon ruffles, a layer of cotton crinoline, and 5 layers of gathered double-circle skirts made from tulle. There are also 120 yards of satin ribbon attached to the hem which also add to the overall fluffiness.

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As Dani and I started leveling the hems, I realized I wasn’t getting the volume I wanted out of the petticoat, and I was worried the donut skirt would ultimately weigh the petticoat down. Koholint pointed me in the direction of some tutu research she’d done. Tutus layer shorter layers on top of longer layers to create a fuller silhouette, which was perfect for our needs. Plus, it was kind of a cool nod to the ballet inspiration behind Madoka!

Bulk at the waist was a major concern, especially since Dani has a fairly short torso and we needed the bodice to be snug, so I attached all the skirt layers to a short yoke with an elastic waistband (and some pink satin ribbon I had on hand just because).

The Donut Skirt

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Fun fact: the original had so much bulk that I had to use pliers to pull my needle through.
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Round 1

The donut skirt was way more of a challenge than I initially anticipated. I went back and forth on a couple of approaches, but ultimately wound up using The Dangerous Ladies guide to Madoka’s skirt as a starting point. I originally set out constructing it as a super long gathered rectangle on both the top and lining layers. I quickly realized this would create far too much bulk under the bodice. To counter this issue, I opted to just gather the fashion layer (underlined with tulle) and create a circle skirt lining. Both layers were attached via a waistband which went under the bodice. The gathered portions sat just beneath the bottom of the bodice. The skirt closes with a lapped zipper.

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Getting there…

Figuring out an appropriate length for the fashion layer took some trial and error. Ultimately the fashion layer was about 3-4″ longer than the lining, which gave me room to stuff the skirt with extra tulle for that ridiculous puff.

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Still trying to get that shape!

The ruffles on the skirt are made from 5″ bias cut peachskin. Since the magical girls in Madoka Magica don’t really have a uniform design, we decided to make sure we all had peachskin ruffles with rolled hems in our accent colors to bring a little uniformity to the designs. Koholint took care of the rolled hems, and I gathered them on my serger. The ruffles are sandwiched between the lining and fashion layers.

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You can see me stuffing the crap out of that donut skirt in the top left! Bows and bodice by the crazy talented Koholint.

The Top Skirt

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The pink top skirt was mostly handled by Victoria Bane. I drafted out the pink skirt based on the circle skirt we used for the petticoat and lining of the donut skirt. We had to remove a petal to get it to lay right on the donut skirt, so in hindsight, I would have drafted it as a 3/4 circle skirt instead.

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Vickie airbrushed the white gradient onto the petals using Creatix paint and sewed up the skirt (side note: I’m still dying over how smooth that gradient is. Vickie rocks). The gems were scrapbooking stickers we found at Jo-Ann’s and glued on.

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Other Pieces

Since the skirts are so ridiculously short, I made a quick set of bloomers using Colette’s free Madeline pattern. I kind of wish I’d added a higher waistband for these since they ride pretty low, but they do the job.

Dani’s stockings were generously donated by We Love Colors. To create the ruffles at the top of the stockings, I stitched some reject peachskin ruffles from Dani’s skirt onto elastic bands. We tried using 2″ ruffles for the skirt initially, but they were waaaaayyyy too short to show up properly. We added a little extra flair to the stocking ruffles by adding some leftover trim from Koholint’s fabric stash.

Final Thoughts

Despite the crazy amount of work that went into these skirts, I’m quite pleased with the final result. There are a few things that I’d go back and fix if I were doing it again (side eyes spots with uneven gathers), but the silhouette is pretty damn nice. On to the next build!

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Photos by Ash Snap Em Photography

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