I adore Zoras and after making Ruto I'd been considering another Zora to create. I had some drawings in the works for some original Zora designs, but after playing Twilight Princess through again I fell in love once more with Queen Rutela, and decided to go for it. This costume was my full-time obsession leading up to Sakura Con 2011 and went ahead and debuted her there even though she wasn't 100% completed at the time.
I spent two solid months working on her, using every reference available on the internet, videos I captured from the game, and the 3D, textured model extracted from the game. That means every detail is painstakingly worked to try to match those references, and also that I'm vividly aware of every tiny discrepancy.
She is all custom-made, completely patterned and sewn from scratch, and I am grateful for my cosplay friends and husband who each got asked to pin something to me at some point during her construction or debut. XD
The part that took longest was her head-tail, since I went through a couple of iterations of its skeleton, but I have a better knowledge of how to do it now so the next Zora I make will have a much smoother head-tail.
The hardest part was the bodice. My old dress form has mutated out of shape and I had no choice but to pin-fit the bodice to myself. I think I've put on and removed the thing at least fifty times, and it has no zipper so that's no easy task.
Her skirt was tricky as well. I've never sewn a trumpet-skirt before, let alone patterned one on my own, and the lavender fabric was a poor choice. I didn't have an airbrush at the time but wanted color gradients, so I chose a fabric which had lovely, soft gradients on the reverse side. The primary side was this monstrous tie-dye pattern with screen-printed tiger stripes, and I discovered as I worked with it that the printing distorts the fabric into ripples whenever it's stressed even slightly along the bias. The lining, which uses exactly the same-shaped pieces as the outside, but a different fabric, turned out smooth and almost perfect. Learned my lesson with that one. Fortunately, the pink overskirt nicely hides most of that flaw.
There are easily over 300 hours of work in her, not counting the time spent airbrushing her, remaking her eyes (one melted while I was heat-setting paint), making and applying the dots along her headtail, and adding new internal supports to her head before PAX '11. The pink overskirt and extra hair length were added just before SakuraCon '12.
Rutela tends to get mobbed for photos at conventions, which makes me feel so honored. I'm grateful that people appreciate my hard work on this.
Thank you for your comments here, too! I don't reply to all of them but they all mean a lot to me. :)
[Aw, WOW! A Showcase! Hooraaay! Thanks so much!]
Haven't entered any contests yet!