Last Updated: 08-02-2009
My best friend asked me to make her an Arucard costume, but didn't want to cosplay by herself for her first time. Since there's no way I can disguise 'the girls' and pass as any male character from that series, I was left with the choices of wearing a three-piece wool suit or a miniskirt. Integra may have all the power, but Seras gets the best toys.
However, there was still the issue of a miniskirt- from years of horseback riding (followed recently by 3 years of NOT riding) I have tree-trunk-like thighs, which I am not comfortable displaying in public. Furthermore, I am not, nor have I ever been, able to sit like a lady. Also, that gun, while impressively large, is just plain black. There's no style, no oomph. It's boring to look at, very utilitarian, very... military. I love the look of wood and brass, and the chance to do something original and unique with such a recognizable character and prop really inspired me. Steampunk also gave me a good way to cover my assets without making a knee-length skirt and listening to 5,000 comments of "It needs to be shorter".
For the Cannon, I used ABS pipe, heavy cardboard, and tons of paint. I chose to use a cherry finish, and harassed my local hardware store employees for a good twenty minutes to match the colors in a stain sample. I painted everything white, then made a solid basecoat of orangish-red. The next layer was a brownish-red, which I purposefully did a streaky job on, to allow the orange color to show through. The top color is a reddish-brown, which I drybrushed on and then scored through to give the woodgrain effect. I learned a lot about faux bois during this process, although I didn't learn the term until three or four months after the Cannon was complete. Some of the metalwork is painted PVC (which I want to redo) and the flat surfaces are gold wrapping paper that has been ModPodged. The lettering (Vivaldi font) was printed out and then traced onto the faceplate, then handpainted and sealed. The gun grip was a dollar-store find, repainted to match the rest of the Cannon. It was a last-minute replacement when I shattered the first grip (a better dollar-store gun) by dropping the Cannon on the pavement while packing the car for a SciFi con. The shoulder butt is made from faux leather, filled with shredded paper and held on by a length of PVC pipe, cardboard discs, and glue, and has since fallen off. The handle on the top of the barrel is a shiskabob skewer that has been bent and painted, with the handle of a dough cutter thingy attached.
I originally made the skirt very long in front. The Burda pattern I used was for a Civil War day dress, and the drape reached below my knees. While it bustled up nicely in the back, it didn't give the feel I wanted in the front. I still wanted it to feel young and flirty, like Seras. So I pleated the entire length into what you see in the pictures, which is very reminiscent of a miniskirt. Since that puts the bottom edge of the skirt above my pubic bone, and since it's a steampunk costume, I broke out my satin bloomers. I added a peplum to the back of the shirt to accomodate the bustle, and gave the bottom edge a black satin border to echo the skirt, as well as giving it a more finished, 'period' look. The patches were made from scrap canvas, painted, then placed on with an embroidery stitch.
In addition to the bloomers, there's a bustle under the skirt, and an underbust corset under the shirt, not only to match with the times, but also to attach my garter straps to. I was grateful for the corset, because it also provided rib protection from the Cannon. I already owned thigh highs and the boots, bought DIY fangs and a wig that required very little styling, and made a fascinator. Because they're adorable. The gloves were made from faux leather, grommets, ribbon, and some cool metal dangly bits that I found on a really unattractive necklace at Target.
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