Last Updated: 07-23-2012
There was an Odin Sphere group planned for MinamiCon 2009, and I settled on Velvet for a few reasons. Itís a relatively simple, and not too time-consuming costume - there was no way I could do much more in my final year at university, and with my dissertation due the week before Minami! Secondly, it was a chance to play with more expensive fabrics I wouldnít normally use - when itís a skimpier costume, itís not as if I need quite so much fabric, so can afford the nicer varieties! Even so, I bought my fabric in the January sales, getting it half price. I chose a stretch velvet for the bright red, and burgundy two-tone taffeta for the skirt wrap thing. Finally, I wanted a chance at a more adventurous prop - I donít normally do props at all, and the psyphers required me to work with new materials, as well as figure out how to have them light up. In the end the group consisted of two of us, but we added in Amy for Aya, and maybe weíll have larger future groups.
My skirt thing was drafted with a bit of experimentation with a mock-up. Itís a semi-circle shape. The final product is lined in the same velvet, and topstitched. Itís sewn to a pair of black shorts. The taffeta wrap was figured out with a bit of trial and error. Itís wrapped around so that there are no obvious seams, stitched to the shorts in places to keep it neat, and itís loose enough so that I can slip the whole thing on and off.
For the top, I began with a cheap stretchy black long-sleeved top. I cut the sleeves shorter for the puffy sleeves to be added. The puffs have a layer of gathered velvet, then lined strips over it on each sleeve. I decided to take that slightly longer route and making them as a sort of slashed sleeve. I thought it gave a better effect and would be better than box pleats, which I was worried might not stay in place as precisely as Iíd like. I then cropped the top shorter, and added the box pleated ribbon. I had to pleat it all myself, since I was having no luck finding any to buy. Luckily, the process wasnít too painstaking since I found out about using a fork to help made pleats! I had to use a fondue fork to make small enough pleats. Sounds wacky, but it gave me completely even pleats with no need to measure, and made the process much faster, easier and neater.
The stockings I ordered didnít arrive in time for Minami. When trying to find a last-minute back-up, I thought about drawing the lines on stockings in pen. Unfortunately, this created wonderful lines on my skin, but not the stockings! Although I could have resorted to drawing on my legs before the masquerade (lol), I managed to sew the lines on the stockings by making 8 tiny seams on each one. Not that sewing ridiculously delicate hosiery is easy or a great idea, but it came out mostly alright, and lasted ok for the con. (this is why the lines are a bit uneven and wobbly in places in some photosÖ). I later got the proper stockings, and hand stitched the ruffled tops to them. The shoes are ballet flats from Primark. Iíd hoped to find something more flattering with a slight heel, but I often have trouble wearing slip-on shoes, so when I found a cheap pair that actually fitted, I stuck with them.
The hood was patterned out again with mucking about with a mock-up. I also lined it completely in the same fabric, which although heavy, is great for making it big and puffy like itís meant to be. My original gold stars were cut of card and glued on. I discovered I needed something more durable though, so my next set were cut out of thin plastic, then painted gold. This wasnít ideal either, so my current set are embroidered patches I found on ebay. The hood has flexible wire around the opening to try to shape it more. It snaps on to the black lace veil thing, so it canít slide backwards. The black lace fabric is the very last I had spare from my Karin costume. It could do with having smaller scallops, but itís ok. I copied the art book images to make it as a long veil under the hood, which hides any messy bits of the wig styling that might show, and allows me to have the red hood down sometimes. The gold bead string is hand sewn in place, and the stars are also sewn on. The lace safety pins to the wig, and the wig has combs in it to grip into my hair. Itís a good thing I donít always have to have the red hood up, since the combs digging into my scalp for long periods of time isnít fun!
I already had the wig, itís an Ashley wig from CosWorx. There are lots of clear hair ties, and hair spray to hold everything in place. As a final touch, I bought purple contact lenses, which are from Circlelens2u. Theyíre very effective, comfortable and affordable, so Iím glad I went for them! For AyaCon 2011, I used Freshlook Colorblends from contactlenses.co.uk in amethyst since theyíre a cheap UK source and sell my exact prescription.
The big project was the psyphers, because I wanted to make them light up, and because I donít usually make props. I later gave up on my own set and commissioned a fantastic set from Amethyst Angel which I had for October Expo 2011, but the tale of my own attempts is here for interest:
I used a thin red plastic, which was great because it was easy to cut and let sufficient light through. I loved the idea of using thicker acrylic, but had no way to cut it, nor the patience to make it neat enough. I also considered a thinner acetate, but found it too flimsy, and too transparent for me to hide any light sources inside the crystals. Since the more opaque plastic worked, and still let enough light through, then that a decent compromise.
I made paper pattern, cut out all the triangular shapes, and assembled them using hot glue and clear tape on the inside. Unfortunately my original plan of scoring the plastic then bending it didnít work, so it has lots of seams instead, which arenít as neat or strong. I was also limited in how I could assemble the joins, when any opaque tape or materials would show up once the lights were on, creating obvious silhouettes when illuminated from behind.
Since my plastic was sufficiently opaque, I could just about shove whatever light source I wanted inside. The only issue is thereís no illumination where the lights themselves are, so I have a black spot in the middle. I think itís the best compromise though, as I didnít find as good a method which would allow me to put the light source in the tops of the crystals, although perhaps thatís something to look into. I used spotlights from a £1 shop. Theyíre very friendly for someone with no grasp of electronics like me - self-contained, battery powered, and the light goes on and off simply by pressing it. I used velcro for one of the joins on each crystal, which lets me easily open up the crystal to switch the lights on and off, or eventually, to change batteries. Itís a little complicated having to open them up and secure the lights inside, but it works ok. Still easier than any alternatives which would have involved learning about wiring and other scary things.
The lights are suspended inside the crystals using the same bendy wire I used in my hood. The wire wraps round the lights, and suspends them from the top of the crystals. It continues up, through a hole in the black top of the crystal, and links to the chain connecting my two psyphers. So the wire takes all the weight, not any part of the tops I sculpted. The tops consist of a halved styrofoam ball, and pieces sculpted from Model Magic and Fimo clay. Thereís a hole running through the centre for the wire to go through and connect to the big plastic chain.
Iím aware it wasnít the best prop technique ever, but it was very cheap (plastic 35p a sheet, lights from a £1 shop) and simple enough even for me to manage. I would like to make the joins in the plastic neater and stronger if possible, but for now itís ok. At least when itís dark, you canít see any of the rubbish bits, and the glowiness is sufficiently distracting :P
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