My niece wanted a Chihiro costume for this year's Nekocon, so I decided to make the Lin costume to match her for the weekend. I had already planned a Kaonashi as well, but for the times when I want to be in costume and NOT in a giant plushy, I thought Lin would be a good idea.
For Lin, the main fabric that I used is a coral silk that my grandmother gave me last year. It's been in her spare bedroom drawers for an unknown length of years and is in good condition. For the lining, I used a pale coral calico and it flows quite nicely. And since both characters where the same outfit I just needed to make one pattern for both outfits, though Kathryn's would have serious reductions since she's only 13 and very slender.
I modified a generic tunic pattern for the top, just to get the shape of the neckline and then added on extra width to the sides while trimming the shoulders in to be a little more even. The sleeves are a rectangle with one side angled off on two corners, so that there are shoulder slits and an open armhole at the bottom of the sleeve where it meets the tunic. When I lined the top, I had to prick-stitch the lining to the main fabric along all sections of the sleeves and gaps. It was quite a bit, but I like sewing by hand.
The pant cuffs are hand-hemmed to the lining as well, and I've strung 1/4" elastic into the hem, leaving an open section by the inner seam. That way I can pull out the elastic like a drawstring and knot it off, so the pants will gather on our legs for when in "work mode". Otherwise, the pants are like hakama capri pants.
Since there was not enough silk for both work uniforms, the Chihiro costume has the same pale coral calico for the lining, but I went with as close match to the dark coral silk as I could find in a kona cotton. Other than that, the costumes were made exactly the same way. The only outside assistance I received on either costume is my friend Jami cut and styled the Chihiro wig.
Now for what you CAN'T see in the costumes... :) Based on line-art in my artbook references, both Lin and Chihiro wear a backless blue undershirt that straps around the neck with two buttons. But both costumes show different colors through the slits of their uniforms (Lin has yellow, Chihiro has white), inferring that there's yet another layer that you just don't see included in the anime or the line-art. Initially, I made a yellow mini-dress thing that just draped over me. It was backless and tied by ribbons around my neck, but that was only to get me through T-Mode. Once I had more time, I decided to tackle the undergarments with better planning and reference material. Once I found a better pattern to modify, I used some dull blue lycra to make two backless bodysuits which end high on the upper thighs. I lined the chest area (no bra necessary then) so that it's completely fitted and moves with the body. The neck strap is elastic, covered in the blue spandex and there's false covered buttons along the top where the straps meet at the corners. For our crossover tops, I used yellow and white linen for each respective costume. I'll hopefully get photos of those parts up soon...
For fun, I made a "roasted" newt on a stick. I forgot to bring it to T-Mode and then a friend broke one of the legs... but I'll take pictures of it for my prop folder some time. It's made of crayola model magic, a skinny dowel rod and acrylic paint. Took me a few hours to shape it, paint it and I've planned to draw scales on it before I finally put on a matte varnish.
Best Craftsmanship (Lin/T-Mode 2007)
Best Overall Craftsmanship (Spirited Away Group/Nekocon 2007)