Star Ocean: The Second Story
Last Updated: 10-28-2009
This costume gave me no end of headaches and has been one of my most challenging costumes to date. Not because of the sewing aspect as far as sewing went, this costume was pretty easy it was the aesthetics of it that meant this costume took over half a year to complete.
So; when making this I started with the dress. The first dress I made was out of drill cotton. I thought it was a good choice at the due to the colour and the eventual fit (it required a lot of taking in); after a brief break where myself and Celine had a falling out; I scrapped the original dress and remade it out of lycra. Much nicer. Softer, stretchy and the colour was really spot on. I managed to find a sun dress pattern in the Simplicity range which was perfect and just had two seams, one either side.
I sewed the dress 3/4s the way down each side, leaving the sit at the bottom, and then hemmed it all the way around.
In this time I had also ordered my first wig; an Alicia wig from cosworx in pale purple. I liked this wig at first, but after looking at other options I decided it was too light; so ended up ordering a new wig from Cosplay Wig on eBay. I styled my wig myself; putting in the bangs; and considering it was my second attempt and I'd never tried bangs before; I was very pleased with the way the turned out.
The cape was the first aesthetic part of this costume that caused problems. Trying to make something defy gravity is hard, harder still when you have no idea where to start. I went through several ideas that I didn't attempt; just made notes on, and consequently returned to my original idea which was a long strip of sturdy buckram (seriously; the most sturdy type I could find); then that was covered in silver spandex, with the cape detail glued into it. The actual cape segment is 1 layer of white chiffon and 1 layer of white creapeon to give it some depth.
Once everything was dry and in place; I sewed on 4 snap fasteners - 2 at the back and 1 on either side; and matched those with the back on the dress. The two on the back keep the cape centralised; while the two at the front keep it up, obviously. Finally - I glued on some silver button caps for the little studs.
The belts were probably the easiest part of this costume. I took measurements of my waist and of my hips and cut two wide pieces of blue poly cotton, giving an extra few inches for the seams. Fold this over, ironed in some Vilene, and then sewed up all the edges. These do up with some hooks and eyes around the back. On the belt of the waist, I added two bits of brown craft foam which act as the buckle. The maroon string belt is just a dressing gown cord I was lucky to find in Fabric Land, and the beads are all made from fimo and painted with acrylic.
With the shoes/stockings I originally tried to make boot covers of a pair of Mary-Janes that I sprayed white. But I hate making boot covers and these really didn't want to work, so I was resolved and bought a pair of thigh high white boots. I glued some lace to the inside to make them appear at least a tiny bit accurate. D:
My gloves were fairly easy. Took some white lycra and just sewed a basic zig-zag stitch up the back and kept taking them in until they fit snugly on my arms. Then cut a hole at the end for my middle finger to go through and hemmed both ends so they looked a little neater.
When I made the bangles I had a couple of ideas. First was to us plastic tubing with elastic through it and paint it gold. This died at the first test because as good an idea as it was, too little tubing, too little elastic and the tubing just had a massive gap. Even though it meant they stayed where they should have - it wasn't going to work. So I decided on polystyrene rings (wreathes) after an extensive search on eBay (where my brain decided to entirely omit the word 'ring' as a search possibility. Seriously, I looked for 'wreathes' and 'circles' it never occurred to me to type 'rings' >< ) I bought a set of six which were 12 cm in diameter. These were perfect for my wrists, but not for my feet as they couldn't fit around my ankle. I reordered 2 more, but apparently clicked the wrong button and ordered two 25cm across ones. Way too big. Finally ordered the correct size for my ankles (15 cm across) and got set to painting when they arrived.
The painting process was fair easy; I sealed the rings with PVA glue and then painted them with gold or blue acrylic paint. Painted on with a sponge so the spread was nice and even. Once these were dry they were varnished to hell and back. The anklets had been cut in half before painting began so once the paint was dry, I put on some black Velcro circles so I can get them on and off my ankles easily.
No doubt about it, the biggest challenge of this costume was the hat. The goddamn evil bastard of a hat. It was the reason that made me nearly give up on this costume entirely at least three times.
Making the hat took no less than four attempts. FOUR. I first tried make it out of camping mat (HAHA); out of craft foam re-enforced with card (not quite); with corrugated card (mhm getting there...) and finally out of buckram. The same really thick and sturdy buckram I used for my cape rail.
Similar to the cape I cut a length of buckram the diameter of my head and then cut a length of gold material (I can't remember for the life of me what its called!) with an extra few inches either end. The gold material was glued to the buckram and then an approximate length of lycra was glued to that and sewn up the back to create the back seam. The gold pyramid on the top was made the same way as the rim of the hat and the purple lycra was glued to the inside of that. To keep it snugly on my head, a crocodile hair clip was sewn to the inside, so it latches onto my hair or my wig and then stays in place.
Now came the hardest part of the costume. That circlet gave me no end of trouble and I'm sure my friends got very sick and tired of me asking for advice from them. I even PM'd people on cos.com who had made the costume before for their advice, though never really heard anything back. My first attempt was plastic tubing with wire through it which proved to heavy and floppy so just fell forward onto my shoulders when attached to the back of the hat. The next attempted worked slightly better; foam hair curlers with wire through them. This worked really well to a point, but because it was so light it flopped around and eventually went the same way as my first attempt.
Then; as a last resort my sister and I went to our local B&Q to see if I could get some inspiration. We came out with a really long plastic tube used in plumbing, and a shorter brass tube also used in plumbing. I opted to try to brass tube first; heated it over our gas hob and bent it gently into the circular shape then I thought about attaching it to the hat. I basically when buckram crazy. I lathered the tube in the centre back with hot glue and just attached as much buckram as I could to it; then one end of the buckram was bent and glued into the back of the hat. This was then lathered with hot glue. I literally held my breath while putting the hat on wit the brass tube. And when I realised it was staying in place and wasn't flopping I was SO happy you have no idea. I had accomplished something I had struggled with so much; I was unbelievably proud of myself.
Lastly came all the smaller details. I made several of the little forehead 'gems' in case I lost them, and these were stuck to my forehead with double sided tape. The necklace was made from fimo and painted with gold acrylic. The blue gem was made and painted separately and then glued on when everything was dry. The little arrows that go on the front of the circlet were made with craft foam and re-enforced buckram, covered in the gold material again.
This costume and I had a love hate relationship. So many times I wanted to give up on it and go and do something easier; but I refused. I knew I could accomplish this costume and that I just needed to persevere at the things I found really hard and trying. Eventually I won out through sheer determination and stubbornness. And I couldn't be more proud of myself. I know I'm going to wear this costume a fair bit just so it gets the wear out of it I feel it deserves.
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