Hours Spent: 35-ish? It took about 10 days start to finish.
Debuted: A-Fest 2018
Why This Costume:
Have you ever had friends who are really into a series, and it takes forever for you to jump on board? That’s how I was with Utena. I’d heard people talk about it for years, but I blew it off for the longest time. I decided at the end of July to watch a few episodes and quickly got hooked!
Blazer WIP collage! I tested a few sizes for the pockets since of course the anime has all sorts of varying sizes.
All in all, this was a pretty simple build since I had a couple of go-to patterns to help me with it. I used my tried-and-true princess seam top, McCall’s 7373, as the base for this pattern. I started with a quick mock-up, mainly focusing on the lower half of the jacket to make sure the shape was right. Once I made sure everything was good to go, I knocked out the base of the blazer using a black suiting and lining fabric from Jo-Ann’s. I stuck to the show’s 4 buttons on the blazer, but I used large snaps on the lining side to make sure the fabric didn’t gape. The bodice has a light interfacing to help keep its structure. Since I didn’t want to interrupt the lines of this design, I opted to make faux pockets rather than real ones. I might go back and re-do those at some point so that I have easier phone access.
Blazer progress with the bias tape!
All of my bias tape is made from scraps of Vickie Bane’s Anthy to make sure we’re extra matchy-matchy. I used a couple of flat shank buttons leftover from my Cornelia for this design. The cuffs are self-drafted, using Vickie’s Anthy cuffs as a springboard. I’d like to revisit these before I wear her again and make them detachable so I can easily switch between school and duelist uniforms.
I finished off the jacket with the Duelist Utena Kit from UniqueCosplayProps on Etsy since I was short on time with this build. I’m not a huge fan of the fringe used on the epaulets, but when I tried to take it off, the resin nearly cracked. I’ll probably 3D print another set of epaulets and use thicker cording next time. I’ll also likely use magnets instead of spin clips to attach the epaulets. One of the spin clips broke during my photoshoot, and they didn’t do a great job of holding the SUPER HEAVY epaulets in place. I’m hoping that a couple of rare earth magnets will work better.
Playing with 3d printing! I’ll post it to Thingverse soon!
I forgot to make sure the triangle neck pieces were included in the duelist accessory kit when I ordered it (they aren’t, if you want to order this set for yourself), so I quickly set out to make them. I designed the pieces in TinkerCAD and printed them off at my work’s Makerspace. After printing the triangles, I sanded them down to remove the 3d print lines, then primed and painted them. They attach to the collar with pin backs.
For Utena’s underskirt, I followed Vickie’s lead again and made a trapezoid out of chiffon and then box-pleated it. I used French seams on the edges and the skirt is held up with extra wide double-fold bias tape. The skirt connects with a hook and I also have snaps sewn on at the side seams of the shorts to keep it from shifting throughout the day.
Speaking of the shorts, they were a quick evening project. I used some credits sitting in my Seamwork account to get the Kaye shorts pattern and knocked them out using dull tricot from We Love Colors. The only alteration I made to the shorts was to add an elastic waistband for a little extra stability.
Again, since I was short on time for this build, I purchased a resin kit from Azure Props for the sword. This kit was absolutely gorgeous and the seller is such a sweetheart! Definitely hit her shop up if you need Utena resin pieces. Once my kit arrived, I assembled it and began sanding. Once I removed all the seam lines, I attached all the pieces with HobbyTown’s 5 minute Epoxy and primed and painted it.
When I have more free time, I’d love to do a bit more detail painting and maybe some work with Rub-n-Buff. But it turned out well enough for my first wear!
First wig that was sadly a bust (cries over time spent wefting). Be wary of cutting your wigs too short! I’m also terrible at cutting wigs in general, whomp whomp.
For the wig, I dug up my old Fluttershy wig from my cosplay closet. It was a great color, but it didn’t have quite enough volume for my taste. I filled it in with Rose Pink wefts from Arda. Unfortunately, I cut this wig a bit too short, so I had to replace it with a Baby Pink Venus from Arda.
Utena wig, take 2! So much better!
I gave the bangs and forelocks gravity-defying volume using the tutorial linked above. Thankfully, my Epic wig won’t go to waste. I’m going to hold on to it for movie Utena at some point in the future!
Thoughts on this Build:
This has honestly got to be one of my most comfortable costumes to date. Biker shorts, a fitted blazer, and comfy flats for the win! I was nervous about how a pink wig would look with my skin tone, but I honestly felt really pretty as Utena! This costume will very likely become a staple in my cosplay rotation. I can’t wait to do a shoot of her in a rose garden with Vickie!
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!
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.
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!)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 ☺)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Happy Friday! I was hoping to share my costume notes for Margaret today, but I’m still waiting on some photos and it’s been ages since I wrote up a proper convention report.
A-Kon 26 was my best A-Kon yet. This convention will always have a special place in my heart, since it was the first convention I ever attended, and 2015 was my best experience yet! This year marks my 3rd year of cosplay as well.
I got into the con on Thursday with the sole intention of picking up my badge. In previous years, I’ve waited 2-3 hours or more, even with pre-registering. A-Kon is finally listening to people, though, and upgraded to an electronic system. I was able to pick up my badge in about 20 minutes!
I know a lot of people complained about them using paper badges this year, but I’m so willing to go for paper badges if it means waiting a fraction of the time I have in the past. In the future, it’d be great if they separated pre-reg from on-site. It wasn’t a big deal on Thursday, but several of my friends were stuck in line for 2 hours on Saturday because of that set-up.
Since I was able to get through line so quickly, I spent the rest of Thursday doing my normal con shopping in the Artists’ Alley. Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos of my loot (bad blogger), but I did pick up several pieces from thealicechan on Tumblr. Her work is absolutely beautiful!
Friday was all about photoshoots! I booked a shoot with ACCosplay at 10am on Friday morning. Big mistake! We stayed up pretty late on Thursday, so I got a late start and totally forgot my gloves. My hoopskirt also lost the lowest hoop on the walk from the Doubletree to the Anatole. Still, Sherwin was a total trooper and got some absolutely stunning shots of my dress. I highly recommend working with him, especially if you’ve got some pretty gowns!
After my Belle shoot, I wandered over to the Hallway Costume Contest. I’d never participated in one before, so I figured why not? While I didn’t win any awards, I was very pleased with how the contest was organized. I was in and out in 20 minutes, but really got quality time to chat with the judges (I think most of them were from Titanesque Cosplay) about costume construction. This is something I think most cosplay contests lack. I consider myself more of a craftsman than a performer, so I really value any chance I get to focus on that aspect of competitions. I’ll definitely participate again in the future!
In the afternoon, I changed into Captain Marvel for a shoot with Kristi Grunden Photography. I really enjoyed working with her! She was excellent at communication and captured some gorgeous images. She’s in the process of editing a few more shots, but here’s a teaser.
I was also happy to run into several Carol fans at the con, including an awesome guy in a Carol Corps t-shirt! Sadly, I didn’t get a photo on my phone, but if you’re reading this: represent!
On Saturday, I joined some friends for a Velvet Room group from the Persona series. Even though this was a down-to-the-wire finish, it turned out quite well! We definitely got more recognition than I expected, and it was a blast to run around with my “siblings” for the better part of the day.
I also made it out to the Shin Megami Tensei meet-up in the afternoon. Definitely loads of fun, even though a quilted dress is not ideal for 90+ degree weather. Thank goodness for Kat Von D setting spray, otherwise my face would have been a puddle of foundation goo!
Aside from silly photos, I really enjoyed the opportunity to kick back and chill with friends. Staying at the hotel definitely improved my overall experience at this con, since I could run back and forth to my room at all hours and not worry about leaving things at home. I’m definitely going to try to book a room in the host hotel next year. Or the Doubletree, since they had great service and a very nice complimentary breakfast spread. I had a fantastic time this year, and I’m really excited to get ready for A-fest in September! More photos are available on my Facebook Page.
Have you stayed at the host hotel for a con before? How was your experience?
A few weeks ago, I attended Anime Fest! Anime Fest is held at the Sheraton Dallas, where A-Kon used to be before changing locations two years ago. I only attended one A-Kon at the Sheraton, so it heading back was a bit of a surreal experience. Honestly, it’s kind of a shame that they moved locations, as I like the old location better.
On Friday, I headed in mid-afternoon (as soon as I could scurry away from work) decked out as a casual Captain Marvel. A-Fest did a brilliant thing this year and offered pre-registered members the opportunity to mail out their badges in advance. I really hope A-Kon gets on board with this idea, because it only took me 10 minutes to pick up my lanyard on Friday. Not having to wait in line absolutely wonderful.
The only panel I actually made it to on Friday was the Confidence in Cosplay panel, hosted by my friends over at Superhero-esque. Lots of discussion on body image, how to handle haters, and more! You can check out a video of the panel below.
I kicked off Saturday with a photoshoot with Aperture Ashley! Ashley’s done several shoots at A-Kon before, so she had some great spots picked out for maximum magical girl shots. I can’t wait to show you the final photos!
Saturday overall was pretty chill. I wandered around with my friends Mia and Liz, said hi to lots of people, got recorded by Cosplay with Me for his con tour video (I’ll post a link when it’s up!), dropped by a Sailor Moon photoshoot, and just generally hung out and had a good time. I really enjoyed this experience, even if I did miss a lot of the people I hoped to see. Hopefully if time works out, I’ll be back next year! Thank you to everyone who said hi 🙂 You can see more photos from the event on my Facebook page!
My con season is slowly but surely winding down. I only have two cons left this year: Dallas Fan Days in October and Anime North Texas in November. I may or may not have a new costume for both. We’ll see how time and funds are doing in a few weeks!
Are you still going strong with cons? Or are you winding down and getting ready for next year?
Apparently my cosplays are actually agents of Hydra. Every time I knock one out, three more spawn in its place. Here’s a quick look at what I’m *hoping* to have finished out in the next few weeks. Fingers crossed that I don’t get roped into twelve more 0_o
This has taken far more time than is reasonable. Do you have those costumes that are within your skill level, but you can’t seem to make it *just* right? That’s this costume for me. I have seam ripped those sleeves at least four times. But! I am going to finish this one. I need to in order to salvage my ego. Fortunately, I’m getting past the absolute worst parts (hopefully), and I’m down to the collar, hemming the skirt, and styling the wig. I have a shoot planned with Aperture Ashley at A-fest, so I’d better get busy!
I realized about a week ago that I’m not going to be able to knock out a full extra costume for A-fest, so I decided to work with what I have. The result: Sailor Rogue! I’ve had this idea baking in my brain for months, but this artist’s piece is what tipped the scale. Fortunately, I already have everything but the tights on hand! I’ll be using various pieces from my Rogue and Sailor Jupiter costumes, and I have some spare gold satin from my Ms. Marvel dress for bows. I like the gold/green look better than green on green. I’m tentatively planning to wear this the Sunday of A-fest.
Captain Marvel Dress:
This is my planned Monthly Stitch project for August, and I’m hoping to have it done for Fan Appreciation Day. I’m not going to get around to a full Captain Marvel this year, so I’m stashbusting and reinterpreting her design for a dress! I adore this one by Contagious Costuming, which was my inspiration for this project. I’d love to incorporate the raglan sleeves, but I also need to knock this out pretty quickly, so I may just go with a sleeveless version. Any thoughts? I’m hacking the bodice with my Cambie skirt. Because pocketses.
Street Fighter Cammy:
This is actually a commission. A cosplay friend contacted me about a week ago asking if I knew anyone who could commission this for her in time for A-fest. I still had some green fabric leftover from Rogue, so I decided to help out. It’s pretty much just my Ms. Marvel leotard with adjustments made to the leg hole openings. I’m done with the base, so I’m hoping to have it finished by tomorrow.
I have a few other things in the works (including some non-cosplay projects), but I won’t get started on them until after A-fest, so y’all will just have to wait until next month’s post 😉 What’s on your project table right now?
In early June, I attended A-Kon 25, which is one of the biggest anime conventions in Texas and held in Dallas. A-Kon will always have a special place in my heart, since it was the very first con I attended three years ago!
This was A-Kon’s second year in their new location, and staff has taken feedback and problems last year to heart. Last year, I attended only on Saturday. Even though I showed up for on-site registration at 7am, I still stood in line for close to six hours. Insane. This year, I pre-registered, but I only stood in line for two hours. It’s still a hassle, but it’s much better than the confuddled lines of last year. Next year, I’ll probably opt for the charity option, which had no wait at all.
A-Kon ran from Thursday through Sunday this year, and Thursday’s main event was the Masquerade Ball. I made a ballgown inspired by Ms. Marvel (original design by Hanie Mohd). I was super excited when ACCosplay asked to do a photoshoot of my gown. He’s posted a teaser of our shoot, and it’s absolutely gorgeous. I can’t wait to share the final results with you guys!
I met up with a few other cosplayers on Thursday, but I didn’t stay late, knowing how busy the weekend would be.
I hit up the con in the afternoon and evening on Friday. I dressed in my new Pokemon trainer cosplay so that I could wander around and be comfortable while scoping out the con. There were so many fun costumes, but my favorite part of the night was hitting up the Repo! The Genetic Opera shadowcast by Amber Does Dallas. Repo is one of my guilty pleasure movies, and this was my first time watching it live. Shadowcast performances are always fun, so I’ll definitely try to make the next one!
Saturday was cosplay day! I had hoped to debut my Sailor Jupiter, but it didn’t come together in time. Instead, I wore my Bombshell Wonder Woman with a few improvements (I’ll post about those later this week) and looked at costumes. I made it over to the DC Photoshoot that afternoon and actually ran into a Bombshell Batgirl, which is my second favorite Bombshell design.
I sat Sunday out since I had a lot of family obligations that weekend. Overall, the con was much better than last year and I had a really good time! Next year will be an interesting challenge, since there’s only going to be a week between Dallas Comic Con and A-Kon 0_o. It’s definitely going to require some costume scheduling and planning!