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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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Commission Notes: Chun-Li (Street Fighter V)

Completed: March 2018

Hours Spent: App. 30

Purchased Pieces: 

Patterns Used: 

Super Helpful Tutorials: 

How I Made it: 

I’ve honestly loved this design from the moment I saw it, so I was super happy when someone commissioned me for it! To start, I looked for a solid halter pattern. After wracking my brain for way too long, I realized that one of my favorite swimsuit patterns, The Bombshell swimsuit by Closet Case Patterns, was a perfect base. I made a mock-up of the lining for my client out of some black knit fabric I had on hand and used the mock-up to tweak the fit on her.

Once I identified where the lining needed to be modified, I set out to tweak the fashion layer of the dress. I used Yaya Han’s black stretch vinyl for the fashion layer because honestly I just love it. This pattern is fairly straightforward, even with modifying for a dress instead of the regular swimsuit, but the sew-along for this pattern really helped me out when I got stuck on a few smaller issues, like adding cups to the halter top (I used a different top version when I made this pattern for myself).

To make this costume more user-friendly, I added hook and eye tape to the crotch, much like I do with my senshi fukus. My client also has an extreme hourglass figure, so I added an invisible zipper at the center back to make it easier to get in and out of.

All of the edges are covered in strips of Yaya Han’s gold stretch vinyl, including the lining of the leotard, since that’s exposed during action shots. The most difficult part of this approach with this design was the scalloped portion at the bottom of the dress. The vinyl didn’t want to cooperate with me when I treated it as a bias tape around the edges, so I created a facing instead. It was an okay solution, but in hindsight, I think I might have preferred just doing a straight edge and sticking with the bias approach, even if it wasn’t quite as accurate.

I decided to get fancy with the appliques and use my newly purchased Cricut to help out! First, I sketched out the designs by hand. Once they were good enough, I scanned them into Photoshop for a little clean-up work and then saved them as JPGs. I then uploaded the file into Cricut Design Space and cut them out on vinyl backed with Heat’n’Bond. I had some trouble getting these to cut smoothly, and I realized in hindsight that I should have cleaned up my edges a bit with both the Refine Radius tool in Photoshop and the smoothing tool on Cricut Design Space. I ultimately cleaned these up by hand with my fabric shears. Live and learn!

Once the appliques were ready to go, I edge-stitched them to the dress with a chain stitch and my trusty Sulky Iron-On Tear-Away stabilizer.

The belt was fairy simple overall. It’s a straight rectangle with curved edges at the front. My client requested a corset-style backing, so I added some grommets and red parachute cord for lacing to tie in with the Chinese knot at the center front. The front of the belt also has grommets that connect to the gold circle in the center with excess cording from the Chinese knot. I strengthened this belt by underlining it with two layers of coutil and used small cuts of German plastic boning to keep it from collapsing on itself.

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To finish the knot, I threaded the bottom of the parachute cord through some tassels on purchased Chinese knots.

Speaking of the knot, that was an interesting challenge. Most of the knots I located online weren’t big enough or quite the right shape for this particular piece. So I looked up how to make one and fiddled with the shape until it was an appropriate size for a human being. Check out the link above if you’d like to make one for yourself!

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The shoes were fairly straightforward. I picked up a base pair of white ballet flats in my client’s size, then I taped off the gold design and hit it with Angelus paints. After a few layers of paint, I removed the tape, cleaned up my lines with white Angelus, and then covered my paint job with matte finisher.

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Prior to Plastidip and painting. I also used Kwik Seal to smooth out the gap between the spikes and the base bracelet.

The bracelets were a little out of the box for me. My client wanted more chunky, cartoon-esque bracelets, which meant that something like faux leather and screw in spikes were out of the question. Instead, I turned to EVA foam. I used a rectangle made of 10mm foam and heat formed it to curve. Then came the tedious part: forming spikes. I glued a few sheets of foam together with contact cement and carved out rectangle spikes first, as indicated in Evil Ted’s tutorial (linked above).

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From there, I dremmeled and sanded down the edges until the spikes were more or less smooth all the way around. I filled in gaps with Kwik-Seal. Once that was complete, I attached the spikes to the base with contact cement, then used a 3mm foam sheet to attach industrial strength Velcro. To prep the bracelets, I used 3 layers of spray Plastidip, then set out to paint everything. I found that the gold Angelus paint worked wonderfully for the spikes, even if it did take forever to paint.

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The wig was also a little outside my wheelhouse. I normally don’t offer wigs as part of commission packages, but I made an exception in this case since my client was local, had no hard deadline, and I wanted to push myself a bit outside of my comfort zone. I used a Jasmine in Spanish Brown from Arda wigs.

To start, I portioned out the side pieces as well as the bangs. I straightened out the rest of the wig and gave it a trim. From there, I braided the two side pieces and stitched up covers for the base out of leftover stretch gold vinyl. I hand stitched these closed around the base of the braids to prevent messiness while attaching them. To finish the wig, I lightly teased and heat formed the bangs, thanks to tips from my wiggy senpai Victoria Bane.

Thoughts on this Build: 

I really enjoyed working on this build! Chun Li is one of my favorite Street Fighter characters, and I’m thrilled that someone finally asked me to work on her. It’s also reignited my desire to make a Chun Li for myself! I’m leaning towards classic Chun Li, but after making this one… I might have to make another for myself. One day…

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Who’s your favorite Street Fighter character? 

Costume Notes: Momo Yaoyorozu (My Hero Academia)

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Photographer Credits: Kronos Otaku, edits by Daydreamer Nessa. Selfies also from Daydreamer Nessa

Completed: July 2018

Hours Spent: 2-ish

Debuted: Anime Expo 2018

Why This Costume: I’ve been on the MHA hype train for a while (me and the hubs love watching it together), but I’d never really thought about cosplaying from it. That changed when Daydreamer Nessa asked me and the Cosmic Coterie crew if we’d be interested in joining her group for fun times at AX! I immediately started rewatching the series with the CC crew, but this time I actively started looking for characters I wanted to cosplay. And… well, Yaoyorozu is basically my cosplay type: blunt, scholarly do-gooder and as an added bonus, she’s tall. So yay!

Purchased Pieces: 

  • Seifuku: Taobao
  • Wig: commissioned by Victoria Bane
  • Knee-high stockings: Stolen from my husband’s sock drawer
  • Loafers: Walmart

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How I Made it: 

It should be pretty clear by the pieces listed above that I didn’t actively make anything from scratch on this build. I chose to keep life simple for myself and throw money at it since I had WAAAAYYYYY too much other work going on leading up to AX.

I ordered a tailored uniform for our group order rather than standard sizing and the fit was way better than I expected! Truthfully I was expecting to have to take the whole thing apart and re-sew it. The only thing I needed to tweak in terms of fit was shortening the skirt by about 2 inches. Because what are proportions in anime?

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Trying on my uniform for the first time!

There are a few other things I’d like to do to this costume after wearing it at AX. I plan to replace all the buttons with sturdier ones, since one of my shoulder buttons snapped in half at AX. I had reinforced the stitching on these prior to AX, and amusingly enough it was just the top part of the button that snapped.

I’d also like to purchase or make a better tie, since the fake one included with this uniform has a zipper that broke on mine. Eventually I’d also like to actually cut off the excess hem on my skirt and use the fabric to convert the top to one that also works for the summer uniform. But, those are all things that can be addressed over time.

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On the shuttle to AX! It was so stupidly hot…

Thoughts on this costume:

The materials on this uniform aren’t the greatest (everything down to the shirt is made of what feels like poly poplin), so I don’t expect it to last forever, but for a comfortable, stress-free and fun costume, it’s a great option!

Also, keep in mind that it’s perfectly fine to purchase costumes if you don’t have the skills, time, or desire to make a costume. I really dislike making seifuku. Basic knife-pleated skirts get boring to me after a while, so I was thrilled to have a costume that required only minor work.

The only thing to keep in mind with purchased pieces, whether it’s coming from a company or a commissioner, is to be sure to not take credit for work you didn’t do, implicitly (by not crediting) or explicitly (saying you did work that you didn’t do). Keep that in mind and  you’re golden! ❤

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Friends who melt at AX together lol

Do you tend to make or purchase your costumes? Which do you prefer?

Costume Notes: Senshi Yukata (Sailor Moon Artbooks)

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Photographer Credits: Ash Snap ‘Em

Completed: May 2018

Hours Spent: Approximately 10

Debuted: A-Kon 2018

Why This Costume: This was the main build my cosplay group, Cosmic Coterie, voted on making this year. We wanted to focus on a build that was relatively simple, since all of us had major life commitments to handle this year.

Our first priority in making these was ensuring that we were respectful to Japanese culture in the creation of these builds, so we spent a lot of time and energy making sure we were accurate to artbook designs of the inner senshi and following appropriate yukata-wearing protocol. The incredible Victoria Bane spearheaded this research. You can find our full notes here!

 Purchased Pieces: 

Super Helpful Tutorials: 

Make sure to check out Cosmic Coterie for more helpful tutorials and information!

How I Made it: 

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WIP and materials photos

Yukata are honestly amazing beginner sewing projects. Creating a modern yukata is more or less sewing a series of rectangles with a few moderately tricky bits. However, if you prefer to work with a pre-made pattern, Simplicity and McCalls have you covered.

I primarily worked with the simplified yukata tutorial linked above, occasionally referring to the more traditional tutorial for measurement guides. My biggest issue with making the yukata was my height; the first tutorial is written for a traditional yukata, which assumes a height of 5’2″ – the average height of a Japanese woman. Even checking the alterations for men’s yukatas still the measurements way too short for my height of 5’10”. This lead to a lot of headache in my construction (not to mention some expensive material waste), but once I finally figured out the appropriate lengths to cut, all of the pieces came together more or less in a day.

Regarding materials waste, if you are very tall (see: over 5’7-8″-ish), you’ll need to either purchase Western-style fabric or get an extra long yukata bolt. I didn’t realize when I purchased my first fabric (which I loved, sob) that there wouldn’t be enough fabric on the bolt to create a full yukata. Even with an extra long one, I still barely squeaked out enough fabric, but I didn’t have enough leftover to make the extra collar or a matching bag. Sob. I’ll just have to find some coordinating fabric to make extra accessories!

Thoughts on this build: 

Honestly, I had a lot more fun working on this project than I expected. I was kind of dreading pumping out two full new costumes for A-Kon while also working on commissions and my contest build, but this came together super fast once I figured out the proper lengths of everything.

The extra accessories are also super adorable! We really lucked out on several pieces, especially the hair accessories and the obijime. I can’t wait to wear these again!

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?