Oh my goodness. This costume ended up being so much more work than I originally gave it credit for when I first saw it in FFX-2. I've loved the Berserker Dress Sphere (espeically Rikku's) for such a long time, but I kept telling myself, "You don't have the skills to make this!" Finally, I found out my friend Dust Bunny wanted to do the Berserker Yuna and I thought WHY NOT. Let's do this! And thus ensued a mess of everything that tested almost every skill I've learned thus far.
Starting at the top. The wig is the Arda Jeannie wig in "light blonde". I bought an extra ponytail and I'm glad I did! I trimmed the base wig and moved the ponytail into a higher position to start off. Then, I took the first ponytail and razored it until it was the correct length of Rikku's ponytail. I took the second ponytail and disassembled it from the claw clip. I braided it into 12 individual braids... Which was a lot more work than I thought it would be, I assure you. Rikku has such an inhuman amount of hair, holy crap. After everything was braided, I layered and played with the braids until I had each set cut to the correct length. The beads were natural colored wooden beads that I purchased, primed, then hand painted to the correct colors. I had to use a Dremel to cut the holes bigger in some of them so that they would slip onto the hair. I beaded the braids and then all of the braids were attached to clips and pins which I clipped into the wig. I decided it would be easier to keep the braids removable since, especially with updo wigs, it would require retouching and restyling every couple wears, especially with the headband to fuss things up.
The headband is an interlock knit that I hand painted the animal print onto, a detail I didn't even notice until I found a set of Rikku pictures someone had been nice enough to cap from the game and share with everyone. (once I find the link to that set I'll gladly post it, I deleted it by accident...) The plate thing on the front of the headband is suede covered foamies with a red trim around the border. Underneath the headband is a leather band, through which I poked some long screws which in turn screw into the horn, holding it up a lot more effectively than I thought it would! The horn is a bit awkward and heavy, but with the right padding it doesn't hurt at all. (Though, the padding part was fixed -after- the con... >_>)
The horn started off as a twisty aluminum foil base which I build up until I thought the sturdiness was sufficient. I sprayed it with expanding foam a few times to build it up, then carved away. Once I got the general shape I wanted, I slathered it with wood filler, sanded, slathered, and sanded until I got it smooth as it was going to get before I ran out of time for the con. Before I primed and painted it I gave it a coat of resin just for good measure. It was painted with a "honey" colored spray paint because I honestly just thought the gold looked really out of place since it clashes with the rest of the costume. (Look at me, worrying about a color clashing with a design like this. :P) I'm pretty happy with the color I chose, anyway.
The neckpiece is a simple self-patterned collar, modeled after my Yui collar, though round instead of triangular/diamond shaped. It zips up the back. The necklace features wooden beads, which I hand painted and four drop pendants I made out of Fimo, then sanded and hand painted. They are strung on metal jewelry string with a clasp in the back.
The shoulder plates were made in the same method as the horn. I sprayed expanding foam over two wigs heads that I had wrapped in plastic wrap. Once the foam was hardened enough on the outside, I pulled them off of the wig heads and plastic wrap and let the insides harden as well. The horns on the shoulder plates were made as separate pieces in the same aluminum foil method as the head horn. Once I had all of those carved, filled, and semi-smoothed, I cut holes into the shoulder plates, wedged the horns into that, and cemented them into place. Then, I gave them a couple more rounds of filling and sanding so that there would be no visible seams. Once the smoothing was done, I Dremeled the shape of the triangles along the edges, then sprayed the whole thing light blue with spray paint and then hand painted the triangles dark blue with a mixture of acrylics. The orange baubles are resin cast, with a model magic border that I sanded and painted.
The fur on the shoulders was a lucky find in my friend's apartment, she was nice enough to share it with me and it made the perfect shoulder shags! The armor rests on a wire frame so that it simply (and comfortably!) sits on my shoulders. The animal print fur at the bottom of the shoulder plates was simply cut from my other animal print fur and glued into place on the underside of the armor.
The fur bra was self patterned. I wanted to be able to wear this to most cons, not just Dragon*Con, so I eliminated the underboob and downplayed the side boob, trying to make up for it by just having regular top cleavage. The bikini bottoms were also self patterned, and all fur bits were hand-sewn since my machine wanted to eat it. The bra and bottoms are both fully lined in white suede. Normally I would line it in cotton or something lighter, but I had this huge chunk of suede sitting around for a couple years and needed to use it.
The paws and feet/leg warmers I self-patterned out of fleece until I got the right size and shape for the fingers and toes. Dust Bunny gave me a LOT of tips and pointers for the finger shaping, and I'm glad she did! Her ideas were much simpler than mine and saved me a lot of time! Again, all the fur was hand-sewn.
Inside of the paws is a couple of inner layers of fleece and batting to bulk them up, since Rikku has the biggest "kitty paws" of all the berserkers, I wanted to make that apparent in our group as well. The gloves are fully lined in fleece and the same minky that is featured on the underside of them. The suede wrapping was simply hand sewn on and all of the "stitching" details were done in white yarn.
The feet have comfortable wedges inside to make my legs look longer and to have me semi-standing on my toes. Since Rikku has very flat feet I didn't want to add too much of a heel. The inside of the kitty feet are fully lined in interlock I had lying around not only to keep the stuffing in place for the toes, but also to secure said wedges I slipped inside. All of the claws are made from Fimo that I sanded and painted, them Dremeled holes into to sew them into the fingers/toes. They are also glued in place with E6000 just for extra safety of not falling off. The legwarmers have elastic in the top to hold them up, and the blue fur at the top was hand-dyed from white grizzly fur using Sharpie dye.
The belly-tie is just some burnt red-orange suede I had in my stash, and it snaps closed underneath the bow.
Now for the fancy stuff. Dust Bunny lucked out and found a beautiful tan/black fur in her local JoAnn, something my store never carried. This was the closest she had found after over a year of searching, so she decided WE CAN MAKE THIS WORK. She whipped out her airbrush and tested out some paints on the spots, and voila! We now had fur that we could airbrush the orange into the spots!
Once all my fur bits were assembled, I got out my own airbrush and tinted all of the spots. I then noticed that Rikku's paws and legging wamers had a gradient to them, so I used up a combination of red, yellow, and brown airbrush paints to give the fur the gradient look it has in the screenshots... I'm really happy with how it came out, this was my first time using an airbrush!
The body paint is an alcohol activated paint I found on eBay, it works great and doesn't rub off at all. It doesn't even wash off unless you use alcohol to remove it. Dust Bunny had to paint my legs for me because I'm not a contortionist. :P
I still want to go back and touch up the horn, but overall I'm so glad I finally did this outfit after admiring it for so long, and I'm happy with how it came out! I hope to get it fixed up soon because I'm itching to wear it again! :D
Best in Show at Anime Southeast 2013