This has always been a costume I've wanted to make, but I was never convinced I had the skills to do it. I connected to this series very much when I read it, since it's about fashion designers! After a lot of research, I started working on the costume in my freshman year of college. I made the base of the skirt as part of my first pattern drafting class. I also made the ring, cage skirt, petticoat and shoes around the same time. I ended up putting it aside for about 3-4 years while I worked on other projects and saved up money to purchase more supplies for it. Once my friend Rei moved to Florida in October of 2009 and she decided she'd fly up for Anime Boston, it was decided that to celebrate we'd do a Paradise Kiss skit and I'd finally finish the "beast"!
Construction: The wig: The wig started out as a long black butt-length wig (The Enchantment from Amphigory.com) I purchased loose packages of extensions and made them into wefts and sewed them into the hairline of the base wig. Once the extensions were in I french braided the base wig. I used the rest of the extensions (about 5 1/2 packages!) and made long braids. I sealed off the ends of them and sewed them into the base wig and wove them into the french braid. Once I got to the ends I sealed them off and connected them end to end to make them suuuuuper long. I also opened up the bottom of the main french braid and braided the seperate pieces so they would transition into the extension braid. Once everthing was finished I sewed in the roses.
The Roses: I bought all the roses on bushes from my local craft store. They started off as stark white. I cut all the roses off of their stems and then dyed them using diluted metallic acrylic paint. They metallic paint gave them a really nice shimmer which matched the fabric really nicely!
The cage skirt: The cage skirt is made of steel hoop boning I purchased from Farthinghales.com. The hoops are connected to each other with grosgrain ribbon. The last two hoops had to be reinforced with a second layer of steel because the weight of the dress was making it buckle and distort!
Tulle petticoat: The tulle petticoat goes over the cage skirt to smooth out the shape. It's made of white muslin and has about 30 yards of netting on it in multiple rows. The whole skirt has a drawstring waistband.
Lace Petticoat: The lace petticoat is made out of heavy white muslin and closes with a drawstring. I sewed about 70 yards of pre-ruffled lace to it. It's one of the heaviest parts of the dress!
Bodice: The bodice was made from an altered Moulin Rouge costume pattern. It is fully lined and has rows of boning in it to keep it stable. It has a back separating zipper. All the flowers were beaded before the bodice was lined and the gathered lace was handsewn on. The hip roll, made of the poly chiffon, was sewn directly to the bodice. The point in the front and the center back both have heavy duty snaps that snap onto the skirt.
Skirt: The skirt was made from a self-drafted pattern. It zips on the side with an invisible zipper and has rows of gathered chiffon on each seam. The gathered chiffon on the scallops was hand sewn on. The scallops are in two pieces, one part is gathered from the main skirt, and the second is a seperate layer added afterwards to extend the length of the scallops. This was done after the fact since I felt they weren't long enough. All the beaded flowers were done freehand. My biggest regret is not making another row of flowers on the bottom. Finally, the train is sewn directly to the skirt and has a hand sewn blind hem.
Gloves: The gloves were made from the Vogue glove pattern. I had to extend the fingers and thumb on the pattern because my fingers are freakishly long for some reason. All the finger parts had to be handsewn. The gloves also have elastic on the top edge.
Sleeves: The sleeves were just basic rectangles that I beaded and lined. In between the lining and the outer edge is balled up tulle. Each end of the sleeves has chiffon ruffles and elastic to keep them on my arms.
Shoes: The shoes started off as a pair of ankle boots that I cut down and covered with the satin fabric. The shoes were hand beaded with pearls and each have a hand made beaded butterfly. The shoes stay on with rows of pearls with metal flowers attached to them. Each butterfly also has a black feather behind it.
Ring: The butterfly ring was hand made with pearls and wire.
Earrings: The earrings were made by taking apart various metal hair clips I found at Claire's and attaching them to metal chain and earring posts.
Finally, I made and wore a pair of below the knee blue satin bloomers under the dress!
Best Overall Craftsmanship at Anime Boston