Arcanine has been a long time coming. Easily my favorite Pokemon throughout all of the generations, when I started seeing human forms of Pokemon, I knew I eventually wanted to do one for Arcanine. Of all the artwork I saw for them, I found one with a tribal design and countless others with a military design, with some shirt/shorts designs. I have always seen the Arcanine as more wild, despite the use of Growlithes as police dogs (so I can understand the military design for them), so I wanted to go with a more tribal design, as if they lived on the plains as I assume most wilds ones would. Yes, when I start working on an original design instead of a canon design, I think way too deeply into things.
The top was made from an altered Vogue knit dress pattern. Gramma helped me alter it to fit, though even though we were certain of the measuring, it got tried on about a hundred times (Iím not even exaggerating) and I got pricked by pins so many times trying to make sure we got everything to fit and fall in just the right place. I should make a dressform at some point. The top is a textured orange suede, and I lined it in a black satin to give it a solid finish. The very top is the same, but I didnít use several of the pattern pieces since I didnít want a dress, only a top, baring my stomach (which I would later cover). One of the longer pieces was used, but altered to be a hanging piece with a thick jagged end finish. I top-stitched the whole thing, both because the pattern called for it and because I liked the subtle contrast. THOSE STRAPS. WANTED TO END ME. The sleeves are spandex and made a different color to call to mind Arcanineís stripes. The back is closed by hooks and thin eyes made of thread, since I could put those on the top stitch without looking obvious. I used a large eyed knitting needle to sew leather straps into Xís on various points of the straps, going again for that plainsman look. Under the top, I wear a tube of spandex to cover my stomach and due to Arcanine having a black underbelly.
The skirt was a very simple skirt pattern, made super short. The hem was machine stitched, which I rarely do when Iím not tucking the hem into something, but it matched the top. It closes with an invisible zipper on the side. I painted on some stripes, and that was that. I made a pair of shorts out of spandex, based on the legging-like pants weíve made for various Mouse costumes, to wear underneath the skirt, ending the legs in a downward triangle for, you guessed it, another reference to Arcanineís stripes. Under those I wore pantyhose so I could have the same stripes over and over without having to reapply the makeup of the stripes around my thighs every time.
I need to remake the visible belt Ė itís just a strip of orange pleather sewn over to make a tube that didnít come out as clean as Iíd like. It just ties. I donít know what I want to do for the belt yet, but I know I need a belt, because it carries pouches for items (based on my Squirrel Girl pouches; Iím getting good at making those!) and it covers a second belt. On the second belt, I used that handy knit needle to use leather thongs to sew the tail onto the belt. The tail gave me a lot of trouble, and I am also looking forward to remaking it, but I like it so far. Itís based on my Squirrel Girl tail pattern, with a slightly different shape. I need to make it out of something fuzzier. Itís stuffed, and I went through a ton of different ideas for attaching it and giving it its folded over look. About five hours before I wore it, I had a break through for the folded over part, and itís sewn to itself. I just have to check to make sure it stays centered on my tailbone, but otherwise it was a decent solution.
Okay, random accessories time! The bracers and leggings went through a few different designs as I messed around with fabric and tried to get a good pattern. I wanted to get a wavy design on the top, between the two different fabrics, and it wound up having to be a joining like a dart rather than a true seam. The fabrics were the fur I made the tail from and the orange pleather of the belt. I sewed one seam, then took out the knit needle, threaded it with fuzzy yarn, and sewed it through the fur part. I would then slip it off the needle, tie a knot to attach it to the underside, and cut the yarn down to the design length, which was a sort of triangle on all the bracers, with the longest pieces in the middle. The same was the start of the leggings, but then I gave them a more ragged cut so none of it dragged on the ground. The process took about almost three hours per piece, making it over ten hours just to fur the pieces. Iím very proud of how they turned out, though. I think I used about three skeins of the yarn on this part. They were then closed with a second seam, turned right-side out. All the pieces slip on. They were each then finished on either side with a black seam binding I machine stitched on, then hand-sewn over for a cleaner finish. The leggings then got a pentagon-shaped knee pad, made of pleather and backed with satin, stitched to the top. Phew!
Other random accessories include the most perfect sandals I found at a thrift store for a couple of dollars. They were comfortable and the right shade of sandish that I wanted. I was going to go for a barefoot design, but I need shoes around convention centers, and I thought it gave me a longer-legged look. For Arcanineís mane, I wanted a scarf made from the same fuzzy yarn as the bracers and leggings. I started trying to knit, but it confounded me, so I found a large crochet hook, and decided to try learning crocheting instead, and that stuck. Itís got a slight wave to it, which was at first unintentional, but I learned how to make it purposefully and put the waves in at certain increments. I have used two skeins so far and plan to make it longer. I was working overtime while making this costume and spent my lunch breaks crocheting. It was fun. I hope to tie in longer strands of fuzzy yarn after I length it.
Finally, the wig. I got it a few shades darker than I planned, as Iíd wanted it to match the tail and yarn, but I like the pale golden shade to it to set it apart. The waves are so much fun and I love the hairstyle. The ears are made of cardboard, a short fuzz material for the inside of the year, and orange suede on the back and turned over the front, all hot glued together. Before applying the fabric, the cardboard was attached to a headband via duct tape, and carefully covered with the fabric. The headband goes under the wig, and a curly strand goes over the side of each ear to hide where it peeks out.
All in all, this is one of my favorite costumes so far, and the first sewn one where I did almost all of the physical work, though Gramma is still coaching me along and I am so grateful for all sheís done. This costume makes me feel pretty and itís strangely comfortable, so all in all, itís just a great costume. I love it so much~
First Place Intermediate (EXP Con 2011)