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Hatsune Miku (Dark Woods Circus)


Last Updated: 08-01-2013

The song is so beautiful and enchanting. I love just everything about it. I decided to make this costume right after seeing the music video because it really touched me. The design of Miku's character is very interesting, and as the video is drawn in a very simple style, I took some artistic liberties to make it even prettier and more detailed. So I designed my own version using the dress in the video as a base. Now I've seen this done in so many different ways, and everyone interprets the colors of the costume a little differently. I personally believe that the story happens in a very dark place, which makes the colors look muted. So this is what it would look like in daylight.

You can view the video here:
The song is made by Machigerita-P and art by Kokuto Yuki. In this song Miku has been transferred from an asylum, where her legs were replaced with an animal's, to a circus where she is forced to act cheerful and perform to the visitors. If she did not behave, they would throw acid on her face, which is represented by the flowers.

I had a good start with this because I already had a wig I could use. It's one of my oldest wigs and I don't really like it at all; it's a thin, matte, ratty mess. But I thought it'd work well enough as it's the right color and could be easily styled for DWC Miku. I've shortened and thinned the wig a lot and added some fiber to the back, but the netting still shows a bit and it tangles like mad. (It was the most expensive wig I've bought, too. o.o)

Well, back to the costume itself. After I had decided on the basic shape, I drafted patterns for the dress. I ended up having to redo each part a few times, which is basically because I started on the costume two years ago when I still didn't have enough experience for such a complicated dress. This also made me make it in a way that it sits much higher than I had planned. I had some serious fitting issues in the end right after I thought I was done with it, because the skirt ended up being almost 10 cm too narrow in the top... I have to say that at times I got so frustrated I wanted to start over, but in the end I got it all to work!

I needed to get this done with not much money so I made the dress from cotton. I got darker pink sheer accent fabric to add some flow and a little depth to the original design, and it turned out really complimenting the base color. The top of the dress has clear straps to keep it in place, and I added light boning to the seams in the front and back. It laces up with matching satin ribbon. The train is 1,5 meters long with an inner layer of sheer fabric, and as I knew from the beginning that I wanted it to have a bustle, I made a separate one-point overbustle. The two ruffles on the edge of the train are strips of over 6 meters and 8,5 meters of fabric. Preparing and attaching them took a great deal of time, specially the box-pleated one, because I had to get it exact by the centimeter. I do wish I had used a little more fabric for it so the pleats would be deeper. I went for bows instead of a ruffle for the skirt because I think it looks prettier, and for that I made 11 rounded little bows. Only 9 fit on the skirt after I shortened it, though.

In one of the illustrations in the video Miku is shown with blue and red designs on her dress, and as I love painting on fabric, I decided to add it. But here the simple and almost messy style of drawing, and the fact that only the paintings on the top are shown, made me get creative and design the complete look. I drew it on paper, transferred it to a stencil, sketched it on the dress, and painted away. This took around six days, and I enjoyed a sore neck the whole time. DX

The cage decoration is papier mache on a posterboard base, and the golden buttons are the heads of 20 paper studs (no idea what they're called). It attaches to the dress with the ends of the supporting wire pushed through tiny holes.

The dress is so voluminous that obviously it needed a supporting structure. So I made a hoop skirt from wire and plastic, and added a little petticoat on top. It's made from the same sheer fabric I used on the dress. I finished its edges by melting them with a candle to save thread, and I did save a ton. The house smelled like plastic fumes for days, though... Not so pleasant.

The jewellery on the dress (and wig) is made from wooden pearls of three sizes, and gold chain. The design of these was also very unclear in the video, so I did my own design that resembles the original, and followed that. I did the pearls on the skirt three times because they kept falling right before I was done. So I got some good practice. -.- In total I probably used around 300 pearls.

I made the sleeve from stretchy fabric and a bit of ribbon and lace. Then I added a few plastic buttons on the white trim. I made it too tight, but at least it doesn't fall off...

Now to the most interesting part, that is the legs, right? At least for me they were something completely new. I looked around for different types of digitigrade legs that people have made to get an idea of it. Surprisingly I found out that the majority of DWC cosplayers hadn't made the legs at all. I think it's one of the most important things about the character and a big part of her story. So I didn't have much of a reference to base mine off of. I decided to partly follow a design for dog fursuit legs. I used upholstery foam to make the thick parts on the thighs and the little parts behind the calves. I decided to leave it at that because Miku is shown wearing shoes, so I got a pair of heels that really enhance the digitigrade effect. Posing properly can make them look so real! I was pleased, and they weren't even that difficult to make. Just a bit complicated and time consuming. I started by shaping the foam and attaching it to a pair of pantyhose. Then, while wearing them, traced a leg and made patterns. The fur I used was a little see-through so I also made an inner layer of cotton. They consist of two parts for each leg, and they zip up in the back of the calf, and are kept on with a tight belt around the hips. I love how they turned out!

The shoes I wear originally came in hot pink because black was sold out, but I just really wanted them for the low price... So I painted them with fabric paint, and the result is actually very nice and smooth. I made the two bows from cotton and attached them to the shoes. But first I had to decide if I wanted to have them in front of or behind my ankles, and the size and style... I thought complete big bows would look very pretty, so I made them like that. I can even wear them on my normal clothes. :P Now I don't usually complain about high heels, but these get uncomfortable really fast, so I'm gonna have to carry a pair of spare shoes to the con.

I noticed Miku wears something around her neck, but I don't really know what to call it. Let's say it's a choker. It was very simple to make. I cut the shape out of two layers of posterboard and fabric, glued them together, sewed a snap button to the end, and sealed the back with glue. Took just about an hour!

I also made the blindfold thingy because I think it looks just so cool. It has a base of thin cardboard that I covered with papier mache and reinforced with wire. I attached a visor from a piece of plastic and two layers of chiffon fabric, gessoed and sanded the edges couple of times, and it was done. It stays on with little hooks of wire behind my ears, and I can see almost perfectly through it.

I wanted to have some flowers blooming on my face as well. It's just a pretty little touch and also important to the story. I went for the look in the video, where she has a bunch of flowers on her skin almost completely covering her face. So I started with a base that I made on my face from papier mache and sealed the back with glue. Then it was time to make all the flowers. I found a very nice tutorial on Simply Vintagegirl blog that I followed to get the basic idea. My flowers would look a little different because I used a different material, but the method still worked. For each flower I cut three round pieces of white chiffon. Then I carefully melted the edges on a tea light flame, and attached the layers together by hand stitching in the middle. I made 44 fabric flowers in total but only ended up using 37 of them. I painted each of them individually using two shades of blue, pink, and yellow. After this I glued them onto the base. Then I made the middles from craft foam, by cutting a circle and rounding the top, then painting and glueing in place. There are a couple of individual flowers that attach onto my face directly.

On my face, in addition to the mask, I wear concealer, powder, lipgloss, and eye makeup consisting of black eyeliner, mascara, fake eyelashes, and eyelid stickers. Brows are painted with acrylic paint.

The wig was styled with hairspray and a bit of glue. I sprayed it with silicone lubricant to make it easier to detangle (or well, that was the intention, it didn't really work). The accessories were attached by sewing.

The square hairclips are one of my favorite little details. I made them from thin cardboard covered with papier mache. I made the shape with a little three-dimensional look, and they're nice and shiny thanks to the acrylic paint.

And I think that's all! Feel free to ask me if you have any specific questions.

I wore this to VI Japan Weekend Madrid 2.0... What a mess it was. DX I had some issues with the organizers, but in the end everything went well and I got to do my performance... But when I went on stage again for the prize (the first 10 got placed, I was the sixth), I tripped on the stairs and almost fell over omglol. But yeah, I was surprised by how many people recognized this version, I was even stopped by a random person on the street on the way back for a compliment!

I don't recommend the con to anybody, and for a better experience I also wore this to Animecon X in Finland in summer 2013. I got only four photos taken, but I got lucky and won the contest! I seriously thought people hated my costume for a while but it seems it wasn't true. XD All in all it was an awesome con, I met some of the nicest people ever.

You can view my walk-on performance here: (16:00 and 24:15)

(Wow, the costume entry had over 1300 views before resubmit. XO)


1st place in the experienced category, single cosplay contest of Animecon X in Finland 2013

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Character Hatsune Miku (Dark Woods Circus)
Costume Views 4222
Favorites 12
Comments 3
Upload Date 09-22-2012
Debuted VI Japan Weekend Madrid 2.0

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