Wow, it was down to the wire on this one! I decided to add this costume onto the A-kon repertoire at the last minute, (which is 5 months out from the con), so I had allot of very, very late nights/early mornings working on this costume. It was basically go to work, come home and sew, go to bed, wake up and sew, go to work, lather, rinse, repeat.
But I think it was all worth it. :D
Okay, costume break down:
The gown itself, meaning the cross-front top and the skirt, are all double georgette. Here's a tip - if you're going to do a huge costume with layers and layers of georgette, but it on eBay. You can buy bolts of it for $15, where in the stores it costs around $4/yard. So anyway, there are somewhere around 20 yards of georgette alone in this gown. All the seams had to be surged because this stuff just loves to fray, and all the hems were finished off with rolled hems, which was a nightmare. Because of the nature of the fabric, I had to first go over it with an overlock stitch, and THEN roll hem it because it just kept fraying the hem right off. x.x That was definitely the most frustrating part.
Anyway, the red patterned fabric for the sash and the shoulder...thing...was also purchased on eBay. The gold fabric was bought last minute at the local Joann's because I was running out of time and couldn't afford to wait for something in come in through the mail. :-/ All the sash pieces are interlined with canvas, so the entire sash piece is rather heavy since there are three hanging panels in the front. I originally planned for there to be embroidery on the red panel, but because of time it just didn't happen. The little cutout filigree designs on the gold panels are all fun foam. ^^
The most time consuming piece of this was probably the headdress. It's made out of fun foam and puffy paint, with craft wire used for reinforcement. I would draw each piece by hand, cut it out, and trace it on the reverse for the mirrored side. Everything had to be cut out with curved cuticle scissors because of how small the detailing was. I cut out lengths of craft/jewelry wire, shaped them to each piece, and then glued them on the back before doing anything else. This way I could bend the pieces into shape without having to use heat. (If you're going to do this, make sure you bend the piece into position BEFORE you seal and paint it, otherwise your paint will crack when you try to bend it.) I used puffy paint to draw on all the detailing. I then sealed each piece with several, several coats of polyurethane and spray painted everything gold. The puffy paint ended up looking just l like metal detailing, so I was pretty thrilled. :D
I bought the wig off of, you guessed it, eBay. :D I knew that I didn't want the wig to move and lose its shape, so before I did anything else, I built a metal frame out of some small sheets of brass. (You can buy it in the model making section at Hobby Lobby.) I glued the wig directly onto the metal frame, and now that sucker won't lose its shape for anything except maybe a hurricane.
I bought a longer wig, pulled the hair back into a ponytail, and then chopped off the remaining length to use for the rest of the styling. Admittedly, it's not the best method, but you do what you have to. To make sure the hair didn't come undone from the ponytail and start flying around I completely coated the end of the ponytail with hot glue. That hair isn't going anywhere.
For the large bun I simply made a long, narrow pillow and covered it in black duct tape. I then wrapped the hair I had cut off the ponytail around it and glued the bun directly onto the wig. I added a couple of braids in the back, down along the bottom hairline to disguise the wig edge.
I then simply built the headdress directly onto the wig! I used more craft wire to support the taller pieces, which I then disguised with some more headdress pieces. All in all, I think it turned out pretty well. The trailing ribbons and tassels were, again, a last minute decision. I knew that I wanted ribbons, but I couldn't find any 4" wide ribbon at the store (until the day before the con, of course), so I bought 3" wide instead. To hide the gap, I made absurdly long tassels out of some random gold thread/yarn stuff that was in the bargain bin at Michael's. Each tassel took about 150 feet of yarn, and they aren't nearly as full as I want them, so if you are going to make your own impossibly long tassels, make sure to overcompensate. If you think you have enough yarn, then you most likely do not. I wish I could have used an entire spool of yarn for each tassel (300 feet), but I only had two spools and had to ration.
Anyway, the embroidery on the shoulder thingies and on the centre front of the sash were all machine embroidered. It was my first time using my new machine so there was allot of trial and error involved. There were originally going to be embroidered designs on the red sash panel and on the red cuffs of the oversleeves, but I ran out of time. Still, I think then entire costume came together very well! :D
There seems to be a bit of confusion on what scene in the manhwa this dress came from. The panel that I based this dress of is only about an inch big, and doesn't show allot of detail, so it acted as a base to jump off of. The dress itself was pretty easy to make out - big flowy dress, sashes, big sleeves, pretty basic, but the headdress was a little harder to make out outside of the basic shape. I had seen a headdress that I liked online, and use that and the manwha panel to pattern out the headdress. Hope that clears up any confusion! ^^
1st place Friday Hall Cosplay, A-kon 21
Best in Show, AnimeFEST Dallas 2010