Last Updated: 02-01-2010
My client requested that this costume be as realistic and detailed as possible. Since the overall design isn't really all that detailed this was both easy and difficult at the same time.
I knew right away this wasn't the type of costume where I could mess with fabric textures/patterns. Because of the modern streamline design of the costume the pop would have to come from small subtleties. Another thing concerning the fabric, I was NOT USING VINYL!!!! About 90% of people have used vinyl and both my client and I agreed, it looks AWFUL! Might as well be wearing a garbage bag. Before shopping I knew that I wanted to keep the skirt and sleeves matte, the shirt shimmery, and the blue details shiny. I felt it was the bet combination without overdoing any brightness the fabric would give off. When I did shop, I was stuck between a dark gunmetal gray shirt or this lighter silver. As I held the fabrics together I settled on the silver as it was the best compliment. I bought two sizes of ribbon that would match the blue fabric I picked out.
From studying many pictures of the character, I knew immediately I wanted to use lace for the shirt trim. Many people have used a solid ruffle and while it may seem more accurate, I felt the lace would give a depth of detail and realism that was requested. Knowing that I'd never find lace in the proper color, I knew right away that I'd have to buy white and dye. This turned out to be a much bigger pain than expected. While I found a great lace for $1/yrd, finding the right color dye was a huge problem. I started with a blue, hoping it would at least be close enough, and during a test found it to be too dark. Bought a teal, that was too green AND dark. Decided that between two that didn't work, the teal was the better, and dyed the whole lot. Wasn't happy with it at all. Went back to the store, bought light blue in another brand, and color remover, and started over. The match isn't perfect, but since it is lace I was able to get away with it.
I began with a sleeveless shirt pattern that needed only a couple of modifications. I would need to shape the bottom properly, tighten the armholes, and because of the thin fabric I chose, add lining. Everything seemed to go well until the very end, when I realized I screwed up by making the lining too small. I ended up starting over from scratch since it would save more time than trying to fix it. Worked out better that way. Since I became more familiar with the construction, it came out much cleaner. The lace was added during the process, sandwiched between the shirt and lining, to make it look more professional. Since I couldn't fit the costume onto my client, only relying on provided measurements, and I was afraid to costume might be too big around the waist, I decided to add ribbons to the back to make it adjustable. This shirt buttons up and has a little snap at the very top.
My client showed me a very specific detail she wanted on the collar. One figure opted for something other than the four blue diamonds. Originally I was going to accomplish it with silver ribbon, but later realized the ribbon was still too thick compared to the space I was working with, so I decided to hand bead instead. Something similar happened with the letters "Vocaloid". The proper iron on embroidered letters were way too expensive and I used beading as my back up plan. As I was ready to cut a section of plain yellow fabric from brocade I had I realized that the cherry blossoms would really be pretty with the costume and made the patch from a patterned section instead.
I would have liked the skirt to have more pleats, but I've never made a pleated skirt before and there's only a couple of patterns out there. This was the best one I could find at the time(just recently my friend found a cheerleader skirt pattern and I got very upset). Again I had the same fear of the costume being big, so I added snaps to the waist for adjust-ability. Once again, hand beading was used as a last resort since using computer chips for the details didn't work out.
The sleeves were lined with blue fabric as per a particular figure I saw online. I thought seeing flashes of the color as the arm moved was a nice touch and also made construction much easier(sewing linings in is so much easier than hemlines). I sewed the thick ribbon at the bottom and the thin ribbon at the top, letting the thin ribbon extend so it could be tied around the arm. My client requested that the sleeves light up and so I purchased 2 packs of 2ft ready to light el-wire that came with small battery packs. The idea of buying remote controls and using the buttons turned out to be too expensive and instead I used thin sheets of plastic, stick on lead lines, and paints all used in faux stained glass projects to make rows of "buttons". I whipped up panels of vinyl and made button hole like openings and glued the rows of buttons over these(so light could shine through). Underneath I weaved the el-wire around, stitching some thread around it at every loop to tack it to the vinyl. Four snaps were used for each panel to connect them to the sleeves and another button hole made to feed the wire into the inside. The wire came out from the top and was hooked onto the sleeve with the use of a glued on bobby pin. The press of a button on the battery pack turns the el-wire on blink or steady mode and off. I wasn't confident that the sleeve could hold up on it's own so I shortened a set of adjustable bra straps, sewed on loops to the sleeves and shirt armholes, and hooked everything on.
I just sort whipped up the tie, no pattern, just winged it. The tie clips were the belt clips on the back of cell phone cases bought in the dollar store. I painted them black and glued bobby pins inside them.
To make the hair barrettes I picked up these little cardboard-esque boxes from the craft store. I tossed aside the tops since I didn't need them. I cut the bottoms from each box so all I was left with was the sides. After painting them black I glued on pink ribbon and black scrunchies inside.
To make the belt chain I started with ribbon and backed it up with black vinyl trim. I cut each black triangle from more black vinyl trim and used hot glue to get them into place. To full secure them and make them look nicer, I ran the whole thing through the sewing machine again, sewing down each and every triangle. A couple of snaps attaches it to the skirt.
Despite that almost NOTHING went as originally planned, leaving me to spend much more time on it than expected, I'm very happy with the results. I wish I had the chance to take pictures of someone wearing it before shipping it out, but alas I'll just have to wait for my client to take pics. Sometimes the mannequin just doesn't flatter the costume.
Some pictures feature a light up headset and leek props. These were not made my me. They were made by my bf. He does not have these up on cosplay.com yet, but you can find them on deviantart.com. There's even a link to youtube demonstrating the headset's operation.
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