D: HOLY SMOKES! ... Here I thought my Eagle Vision (Magic Knights Rayearth II) costume was a challenge to make. It was actually a BREEZE compared to Asch's outfit! With Asch's, every single costume piece except the wig, black leggings, black undershirt and belts were tediously hand-crafted AND hand-sewn by yours truly. It was basically LOTS of various projects all going at the same time. @_@ Also, no patterns were used for this costume - just reference pictures & trial and error. (Costume was primarily based upon this TotA Asch the Bloody scan: http://www.minitokyo.net/Asch+The+Bloody. Some elements were also taken from the game version.)
The Tabard is made of double-layered, black poly suede fabric ('wrong' side intentionally used for its easy maintenance, smooth feel, ability to repel dust, and grey-ish hue light casts upon it). A layer of twill was added in-between the layers for extra thickness/body. The tabard was then lined with maroon-colored chiffon. The designs (front and back) were sketched on cardstock by hand, cut out to make a template, then traced onto/cut from the vinyl, and sewed on by hand. The edges are also finished with the red vinyl. LOTS of work, but darn well worth it! The tabard even "flows" in the same manner Asch's does in the game. xD
The Shoulder-armor piece was crafted from cardboard with a metal coat hanger inserted into the shoulder arches to hold the shape and add strength (in order to support the weight of the tabard attached to it). 'Right'-side poly suede fabric (for it's jet black, matte finish) was then stretched over the piece and sewn into place. Gold bias tape was meticulously hand-sewn along all the edges. Shiny, gold posterboard was inserted inside the collar area to add a nice finish. The tabard was attached to the shoulder-armor piece on one side in the front, the other attaches with velcro; the back of the tabard is fully sewn onto the back of the piece. So basically, the shoulder-armor piece + the tabard are one whole unit I can just slip on, then fasten the side belts. :]
(NOTE: Once the tabard was attached to the shoulder-armor piece, I was able to hang the whole unit up on a clothes hanger from a hook on my closet door. This GREATLY aided in ensuring proper lay/hang of the tabard with no awkward gathering or bunching. It also played a key role in lining the tabard, as well as in hand-sewing on the designs and all the red trim!)
The Wig is a Long Candy Apple Red wig from Wig Fever on eBay. An inch was trimmed from the bangs to allow them to stand up more easily. The bangs were spiked up using fabric stiffener. The dark gradient was added to the ends of the wig using a black Sharpie marker. A piece of maroon-colored twill fabric was sewn into the hair net on the front of the wig as a starting point for creating a natural-looking hairline. With fabric glue, extra hair fibers were carefully glued to the twill. Finally, the hairline edge was trimmed to look more realistic and remove access hair fiber.
The Belt was a really unique belt I found at a thrift store. It actually had this smaller belt on it, which was actually used for closure. This additional belt piece was EXACTLY what I needed for holding the sword sheath! So I detached it with a seam ripper and sewed it onto another piece of the belt I had extended downward for hanging the sheath. (I gotta admit it was ridiculous sewing through the leather, not to mention all that red vinyl on the tabard. So frankly, to save my hands, I ended up doing most of the "sewing" with needle-nosed pliers.)
The Arm and Leg Bands were constructed from plastic CD-R/CD-RW spindles for the arms and round water jugs for the legs. Craft foam was hand-sewn onto them to provide a nice flat surface and smooth out any divots in the jugs. A red jersey/cotton mix fabric was then sewn over top. Plastic rings were cut and attached to the tops and bottoms of both the leg/arm bands to provide a solid look. Next, gold bias tape was hand-sewn onto the red fabric, then pulled over the top/bottom plastic rings on all bands and sewn inside as well. Thin strips cut from plastic sheets were inserted under the bias tape to even out the tape and add a more solid edge at the tops/bottoms of the bands. Finally, all bands were hand-sewn onto the black undershirt and leggings to securely position them on the costume.
The Gloves and grey boots were made from the fabric of an old pair of polyester athletic pants. A basic shape was cut from the fabric and tailored the to fit snuggly on my arms and legs. The gold designs on the hands and knees were sketched on cardstock to create a template, which was then traced onto plastic sheets. The designs were then cut out of the plastic and the gold bias tape was "glued" to them using double-sided tape. The designs and gold trim running down the arms/legs were then hand-sewn onto each glove/boot. On the gloves, black bias tape was added around the finger and thumb holes. Cuffs made of 1/4 inch-thick foam covered in grey fabric were sewn onto the tops of both the gloves and boots. They help to fill in the gaps between the arm/leg bands and my arms/legs. Finally, velcro was sewn onto the cuffs of the gloves to securely fasten them to the velcro inside the arm bands.
For the Shoe part of the boots, I modified the suede shoes from my Ruka no Houou (Saint Beast) cosplay. Pieces of craft foam were cut for the 'armor plates' on Asch's shoes. The black poly suede fabric was a very close match to the suede shoes, so the fabric was wrapped and sewn 'right' side up onto the craft foam pieces. All the gold bias tape was then sewn to the edges of the pieces. A very thick sewing machine needle (and the needle-nosed pliers!) were used to sew directly through the sides of the shoes to attach the armor plate pieces. More of the gold bias tape was glued onto the edges of the shoe soles with super glue.Small plastic shapers were cut and inserted into the hemmed, rounded ends of the bias tape. Eight (8) thumb tacks were gathered, painted gold, and inserted through the bias tape and shapers right into the sides of the shoe soles. Super-glue was applied for extra hold. Two of the thumb tacks keep trying to pop out, so I ended up sewing down the bias tape/shapers directly onto the shoe for extra support and security while walking.
The sword was crafted out of cardboard bent to shape + a 1/4 inch wooden dowel running from the handle through most of the blade for support. The cardboard edges were all hand-sewn shut around the dowel to create a fine edge on the blade, and a beveled look for the handle. A black vinyl cover was then hand-sewn onto the handle, with the gold design being drawn then painted by hand. The handguard was then added with the same sewing technique to close/bevel the edges. Packaging tape, then black electrical tape were used to strategically cover the handguard to give it a black matte finish. The silver edges of the sword blade were made from silver acrylic paint painted onto the backs of clear contact paper strips. The strips were then stretched over the edges of the blade and super-glued into place. Black bias tape was run the full length of the blade for the black section. Cornered edges from clear plastic boxes were cut, painted and attached to the blade to produce the finely raised design down the middle of the blade. The pieces for heart design were cut from flat plastic sheets and carefully shaped using needle-nose pliers before being painted and attached to the blade. Panels were carefully cut from plastic sheets, painted gold, and super-glued to cover the base of the blade. White pearl studs were used to portray the connector bolts connecting the blade to the handguard. The sprocket pieces beneath them were crafted from craft foam and painted gold before being super-glued to the sword. Most of this was now repeated for the OTHER side of the sword. ^^;;
The entire sword Sheath was constructed from cardboard and sewn together by hand (using the pliers again!). Next, metal clothes hanger wire was inserted for structural support. A durable, black vinyl cover was then hand-sewn tightly onto the sheath. At last, the gold designs were meticulously drawn and painted on by hand.
A special thanks to my Aunt Gail who helped keep me motivated through this year-long cosplay project!
Won 1st Place in Cosplay Contest @ BASH Con XXVII in 2012