Last Updated: 11-11-2011
I guess it's pretty true what they say about making cosplays; the simpler it looks, the harder it is to make. Well, this was a beast. This was one of my first full costumes that I've done, and I'm a pretty amateur seamstress, having only been sewing some minor projects for about two or three years, so this costume was a ton of "firsts" for me; I worked with drafting my own pattern from scratch, using, painting, and manipulating craft foam, having to color a wig, making gems without using resin, among other things. If the following doesn't answer any questions, feel free to message me.
This was probably the worst/most difficult part of the costume to make. I knew that I would be needing to make both the dress and a lining for it since it is such a light pink color, a lightweight dress, and tight-fitting to top it off. I took that opportunity to practice the pattern I drafted (from modelling off of an old Cheongsam I had) with the lining first. Let me just say, it was not fun. Since I am not a big buff on figuring out how patterns specifically function with every curve, I had quite a few issues, especially trying to get the perfect straight seams right down the front with the proper "side flaps" like Nia has. After about 9 hours of going back and forth and sewing things and seam ripping things (my seam ripper and I have a very love-hate relationship), I finally got the entire thing put together. I also still don't have a zipper foot, so this was quite an adventure in that aspect as well. It was all made out of a lightweight cotton, and the lining was simply a white muslin fabric.
Extremely easy in comparison to the dress, though this is something I will be remaking in the future because it was a bit too "poofy" for my liking. I just measured around my waist and multiplied it by 3 to get a good ruffle, sewed it all together, ironed and hemmed it, put in some elastic, done. Actually made of the same muslin for the dress lining, with a lining fabric sewn in.
EDIT: The skirt has been remade. I spent extra time making legitimate pleats in the skirt, as it has in the anime. I've never done pleats before, so it was a learning experience, and the skirt came out a bit too small, so once again it will need to be altered. After I pleated it, I added a waistband and a button for closure. The skirt also has, as I discovered, a back "pink triangle" piece, so I just sewed and hemmed a shape like it, added a row of lace to the bottom, and tacked it on the skirt.
Starting off by saying this was my first craft foam experience, I have learned a lot, and I will also be remaking most of this because of my lack of experience/trial-and-error knowledge. Luckily, craft foam is incredibly cheap. You all know the drill, with sealing off the foam (I made the amateur move of spray painting for this, but it turned out fine in the end, just don't do it yourself) and painting (I used 3 layers of simple acrylic) and whatnot, so I won't get too much into that. However, after I had painted it all, hot glue would not do the trick with gluing the edges together, and I should've glued before I painted; it wouldn't stick for some reason. I just used Elmer's glue instead and it did stick fairly well, only one "seam" broke open at the convention, which I just sewed back together because I didn't want to wait hours for it to dry again. A pro of craft foam is it can be sewn wonderfully. The armlets, bracelets, choker, and belt were all made out of multiple layers of craft foam, the bracelets, choker, and belt fastened with glued-on Velcro (which also was not the "best" idea, but it worked for the con). The red tie was just a rectangle I glued onto the backside of the choker, with the stripe being ironed on with applique dot paper.
This was fairly simple to make in comparison to most everything else in this costume. It was just light pink foam under a second layer of red foam of detail, heated over a hot stove to bend into shape. I ended up letting it sit with the petals rolled up into a ball-like shape until it cooled, where it was nice and rounded when I opened it up afterward. The white "flag" was just made out of the same white muslin with the red arch ironed on with, again, some applique dot paper. It was glued on the underside of the flower along with a bobby pin so I could take it in and out of my wig.
The Gems and Gold Hair Clips:
Alright, so here is where I had to get creative. In retrospect, this was definitely not the best idea and could've been done much more efficiently, but I was very tired at this point and just had to come up with something that would look nice that didn't require resin casting. This is also something I will most likely be redoing in the future, using resin at that point. However, since I was low on time, I used hot glue for almost all of my gems. Yes, I cast gems with hot glue; I used a round plastic paint palette and just squeezed the hot glue into the holes, waited for them to dry, popped them out, and painted over them with nail polish. With the large gem on the belt, I had some problems with brainstorming it; in the end, I found a half-sphere jar lid in the right size, melted hot glue, and poured the glue over the lid. This took quite a few tries of hardening and re-melting to get correct. When it dried I pried it off (very carefully) and painted it, again, with nail polish. For the oval-shaped gems and the hair clips I just used model magic, sanded them lightly, and painted over those with nail polish/gold paint as well. I probably should've done that for the round gems as well, but it all worked out in the end, and hot glue is cheap. On the hair clips, I glued bobby pins onto the back like I did with the flower so they would be able to be taken on and off the wig.
Just a synthetic wig I got off of ebay, colored in blue highlights with a blue sharpie. Nothing special, it took about an hour or so to do.
Overall this got a good response at Matsuricon, where I was the only Gurren Lagann cosplayer aside from a half-finished Simon whom I only saw for 20 seconds then disappeared. I will be fixing up and hopefully completely finishing this costume for Sugoicon 2011.
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