Chai Xianghua

1st Player

Soulcalibur III

Last Updated: 05-27-2009

Xianghua and Rikku were costumes I started insanely early and really took my time on. It was around this time that I started to do this. Start really early on costumes, so I wasn't freaking out about them the closer the convention got. I don't work well under pressure, so just being able to get this done in my own time was great. Especially considering I left this alone for a few months after having disagreements with my first two attempts at the shirt. Anyway!

As with most of my costumes I started with the top. It appeared easy enough and I had seen a pattern in the Autumn 2008 Simplicity collection (do not ask me what number, I don't remember any more!). When I came to buy it, the ladies in FabricLand were changing the patterns over for the new season, so - because the ladies there are lovely, they gave me the pattern for free (so take note! Always get to know the women in your local fabric store! You get freebies sometimes. And make some brilliant friends who are knowledgeable where you may not be!) I made two mock ups of this before I the third and final shirt. The first two were made from pale pink polycotton. It was not the best material to use as it had no stretch and was difficult to get on and off. The first mock up went because of that. The second, I used drill cotton. EVEN WORSE. But I got as far as making the bottom segment. Which went very wrong. So that was scrapped.

The final version you see now is made of my goo friend t-shirting cotton. Love the t-shirting cotton. This was when I discovered how handy it can be, so everything cloth is t-shirting fabric. The top is lined with a darker hot pink like in the referance art, and likewise so are the sleeves and the shoulder 'pads'. Where the bottom segment and top of the shirt attach, there is a length of the pink fabric sewn to hide it. Likewise this is sewn on the bottom of the segment, and around the front in the interesting pattern. On the edges of the cuffs and the bottom and tops of the sleeves was more pink, which I ended up just painting on with the perfect matching fabric paint.

The trousers were made using a PJ pattern and cut to 3/4 lengths. A length of elastic was threaded through to keep them up too. Once the base of the trousers had been made from white t-shirting fabric and everything had been hemmed it came to the messy job of dying them! In dying them I ruined a t-shirt and 4 or 5 tea towels. Not to mentioned a dishcloth and sponge. But the outcome pleased me immensely. I managed to get the gradient by pulling the legs out of the bucket of dye after about fifteen minutes and just letting the dye seep up the material. I love how these came out. Considering it was my first attempt at dying, let alone gradient dying, I was very pleased.

The most time consuming part of this costume was, undoubtly, the painting. Each layer of paint was done two or three times to get as much coverage as possible. The sleeves, because of their patterns were done first with a fabric pen (which died half way through) and then finished painstakingly with a small paintbrush and gold Dylon paint. The leaves on the trousers and patterns on the shirt were painted with white Dylon paint.

Even before this costume had been started I had the shoes. I got lucky in New Look one day and found a perfect pair of turquoise satin ballet pumps, which just needed a lick of pink paint on the sole and around the foot hole. Also, just needed leaves painted on. And equally, the collar and headband were easy - just a couple of hemmed strips of satin, lined with vilene or interfacing to keep them stiff. The collar stays together with a smapp snap fastener. And the hairband stays on with some crocodile clips sewn on.

The wig took some time to find because I had to decide whether I wanted a short wig and get extensions, or a long wig and cut it to the right length. I eventually decided on the former as I have little knowledge when it comes to wig styling. And I didn't want to waste a perfectly good wig. I managed to get it from a great buyer on Ebay, and all it needed when it arrived was a bit of styling around the back to make it suitably flicky.

The sword was made this way and it was my first time making a skinny sword like this. Admittedly its not perfect (I get frustrated sanding sometimes) but its not bad. The gold detailing on the hilt is actual a gold trim, so it gives the hilt a more 3D look. And the dangly tassle on the end is a curtain tassle!

Comments: 6

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United Kingdom


Character Chai Xianghua
Series Soulcalibur III
Costume Views 1982
Favorites 5
Comments 6
Upload Date 05-27-2009
Debuted London Expo, May 2009

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