Fai D. Flourite
Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle
Last Updated: 04-12-2013
This costume is my pride and joy, it took the most time, effort and money, but I love it and every single destroyed nerve cell was worth it in the end :)
I knew I wanted to cosplay Fai pretty soon after I got into the Tsubasa manga, the question was - which costume. At first I wanted to make the blue one from Jade Country arc, but then changed my mind and went for the white fluffy coat of doom, as it became known to me and company. :D
For nowJapan I made only the white undercoat that Fai usually wears and the furry overcoat + the staff. Later I also made the blue middle coat, so for Animatsuri 2011 in St. Petersburg I was wearing three layers of coats. Good thing it was winter time xD
The undercoat was made from stretchy textille with a zipper in the back and only an imitation in the front. I painted the swirly motives at the neck and the bottom of the coat in blue textile paint which didn't turn out well, since I was in a hurry and the synthetic stretchy material didn't take well to paint.
Then of course came the big white fluffy coat of doom. I actually started it several months earlier, but as usual ended up doing most of the work two weeks before the con. So what I did was come up with a pattern from looking at pictures and photos of other people's coats, sew together the outer layer and lining and that's when the fun began. I had been trying to figure the blue pattern on the back for a long long time, long before I even started working on the cosplay, but the fact was that there was no definite pattern. It wasn't entirely visible in the original art and with every existing cosplay the pattern varied a lot. So in the end I copied as much as possible from the original but had to make up the parts that weren't visible. I had sever different versions in the end and just chose the one I liked best. Then came the trouble of having to transfer a picture from my textbook onto the two meter long coat.
At first I thought of using the heatable adhesive material thingy, but things like that don't exist where I live, much less in the quantity I would've needed for the coat. So I decided on textile paint in the end, which proved to be a good decision. It was pretty easy to work with and I could get the color I needed by mixing different ones.
So what I did was get some old wallpaper rolls from Semashke, glued them together with tape, cut out the shape of the coat from it, then cut it in half and drew the pattern onto the paper, cut it out and then I had a stencil for my work. The whole process took about two days, drawing itself took 4 hours and then when I cut it out, the pattern was a snakey messy mess of doom, which would get twisted and mangled at the smallest movement. And being the smart person I am, I moved it a lot. Then spent half a day trying to untangle the pattern. Then came the joy of transferring the cut out pattern onto the coat. Some hours and an acupuncture for my carpet later it was done. So I traced the pattern with pencils, flipped over the pattern on the other side of the coat ( which took another two hours) and did the same. In the end I had a nicely symmetrical traced pattern on the back of the coat. :}
That was a nice mini victory, but ahead lay an even bigger battle. I will not mention in detail what laying and sitting hunched on the floor over the coat for days(literally) did to my back and legs. Let's just say it was painful and I wouldn't look forward to repeating the experience.
Anyway, armed with some paintbrushes and the fabric dye, nice and thick, I started working on coloring. The progress was pretty slow but steady. I would spend about 6 hours every day painting it and finished in about 4-5 days. But the color was very flat, so I mixed more different shades of blue, from lighter to dark and worked on making the coat "3D", as I call it. That took two days (and nights), and then another day for contouring the pattern in black textile marker. I still can't believe I managed all that work in under three weeks. And there was the staff as well.
I wanted to make the crystal in the middle glow, so I had to get acquainted with electricity and LED lights. That also brought the problem of having to make the staff head from at least two layers, so I could hide the battery and wiring inside. Thinking long and hard, I decided on two pieces of foamboard topped by two pieces of PVC and then the decorations from crepla. The crystal was made from several layers of blue see through plastic sheets I found in a local art shop. Lots of glass glue later it was finished - two different sides and a middle wall to attach the led lights. I bought a strap of led lights, a battery, some thin wires and a soldering iron. I also bought a cheap electric lantern from which I took a small switch for the lights. And that was me getting to know how to work with electricity and soldering. It was a success and I was pretty damn proud that I didn't cause some serious injury to myself or set the house on fire. xD
I used universal filler to smoothen the edges between layers after gluing them together with hot glue, but seeing as I only had two days until the con I didn't have the time to apply more layers and sand it down until it was properly smooth. Then I painted the filler with golden acrylic paint, used blue glass paint on the crystal and round glass pebbles for aquariums and just put everything together.I got a long wooden pole, square aluminum profile and at this point my father cut the pole's end in a square form, so that the profile would fit onto it (he didn't trust me not to chop my fingers off xD). Then I stuffed the end of the staff into the profile and dad put screws into the juncture. That way I could remove the top + profile from the pole and carry them separately.
And that brings us to the state my costume was in before nowJapan. The wig I had ready even before I started with the sewing, same with the gloves. I had shoes ready as well - just regular black ones, and bought black pants with the zipper on the side instead of the front. I also made a blouse from the same material as the undercoat to wear underneath, because the difference in color between the bindings and my skin was visible with only one layer.
Phew. Now that was a long tale. On to part two :D
Just recently there was Animatsuri in St. Petersburg and loving my Fai costume too much I decided to wear it again. This time I also remade the staff, cause it got broken when I tried to disassemble it rather forcefully. I also made the edges smoother, repainted the golden decorations and blue pebbles. At this point the led lighting was barely visible, because I once accidentally left it on for some hours. I hadn't planned on needing to change the battery, since I thought I would only turn the lights on for stage performances and photos. So the battery was hidden inside and I had no way of changing it without breaking open the entire staff. >.<
Anyway, I borrowed an eye patch from Semashke, modified the wig to have a small ponytail at the back and made the blue middle coat with belts and such - as seen later in the manga, with all the vampire and Celes country bussiness. The middle blue coat came out nicely except for one thing - the collar would get squished out of shape if I wore the white coat on top of it. But it was too late to change anything and I had no idea where to begin with that anyway, so I adjusted what I could and left it as it was. The only business not related to sewing this time was making the buckles for the belt and bottom of the coat, which I cut from PVC board and colored with spray paint. The coat itself had a pretty intricate clasping system, going from velcro to buttons and hot glue to make the buckles stay in their places (which failed several times and had to be reattached during the con. I am losing my faith in hot glue completely).
I also made a Mokona plushie to go with the costume, which got stolen a lot and got lots of love :D
And that's pretty much it. This costume really is my pride and joy, dream costume and maybe even "once in a lifetime" thing. I don't know if I'll ever have the time, energy, patience AND money to pull of something similar. Though I have to say I am slowly turning in a Clamp addict. I suppose I will be cosplaying more characters from their series. Not only because of the intricate costumes, but also because how lovable their character are xD
That is all. I'm kinda embarrassed to have written this huge wall of text. Cookies for you if you've read it all xD
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