Amano Dream Hunter's Version
Last Updated: 10-28-2006
This costume became my life for some time. With an investment of 600 dollars and well over 100 hours of my time (I am never sure of how long I take on costumes), I hope to get as much use out of this costume as possible.
I based my working sketches of the costume on every illustration of Dream in the book, drawing certain aspects from certain pictures, and drew ideas from the text. Sandman has been a part of my life for a long time, so I was swayed by Dream's appearances in the Sandman comics, and by Neil Gaiman's descriptions in the novella. This left me with over ten drawings to work from, so I had almost every aspect worked out before starting.
The under shirt was the only easy part, a large black top with gold trim painted on. It had to fall low, so I had to bind my chest down in a different way than usual, and without the base of my sports bra, making it a bit difficult. Over that, the vinyl jacket and pants were an interesting experience. I wound up sewing the pants too large or too wrong several times before I go them right, and constantly wished to be thinner as I made it. I couldn't make it form fitting like I wanted, so it wound up being a bit baggy. The jacket was made from several patterns, and held with snaps at the bottom. The inside of the jacket was lined, and all pieces were hemmed by hand.
So, the basic underpart was a little time-consuming, especially as it was my first time working with vinyl in that quantity (though I had a good deal of stitching it with my Boogiepop costume), but nothing more than basic sewing together. It was the rest of the costume that got me.
That brings me to the cape. Ah, the cape. One of the hardest things about starting this costume was finding enough of the right black fabric for the outside. It was a combination of several cape patterns, to allow for the length, width, and immense collar. Looking back, buying a pattern for the collar was pretty pointless, because I altered it excessively. The collar was held up by boning, pellon, and stiffiner. It still flopped over a bit, though. The cape was done in black fabric with white lining, which would not stay white for long. After sewing together, I pinned it up to my wall to be painted.
This painting process is, as you may have guessed, what took the majority of my time. I watched all of my recorded episodes of Mystery Science Theater, which is a lot, as well as Boogiepop Phantom, Real Bout High School, and other anime. I painted the flames first, intially in a metallic copper fabric paint, then a smaller layer of red was added, and some highlights painted over that. Then I turned it over... to find that it had bled through in several areas.
I proceeded to paint the inside, based in several areas (such as the background (which was done last) and the bird) on Amano's drawings, but most illustrations were from the story. I have a multitude of the story elements in the painting, including the fox, the badger, the laquer box, its key, the jade dragon, a torii gate, a branch of sakura, a branch of flowering willow, a baku, the seaside cliff, and the monk and fox walking, as seen in the final illustration of the novella. These took me a day to sketch, and two weeks to color in, highlight, and add the background to. I painted the inside of the collar with a mixed paint that I would also use on the boots, and lined it in black paint. I may also add lines that will glow-in-the-dark to certain aspects.
The rest of the costme was almost easy compared to the time and skill (most of which I lacked, hence the rough images inside the cape) needed for the cape. The boots especially, as I found a perfect pair at Pay-Less and proceeded to paint them with fabric paint.
The necklace was the biggest part of the accessories for me to make. Cut from 30-gauge copper, I made a basic, thick chocker before cutting it into the more detailed pieces. I beaded the strands seen on the necklace, which were tied at the end that reached the back of the neck (where a barrel clasp held it closed) and glued to the back of the main piece going down the chest. I then made the jewels from resin, casting molds from modeling clay, and glued them on with metal-to-plastic glue. It took me a while, and went through a good deal of resin and copper in experiements. The rings were easier, and actually fun. I had a lot of freedom in designing them, and they were the first pieces completed. Each is made from 30 guage copper, and are variously burned and colored. In retrospect, the copper, though it looked nice with the overall color scheme I made, was a bad idea - I'm allergic and was quite green for a while afterwards.
The beaded strands are sewn to the underarms of the jacket, and two strands on the right side are sewn to the glove/bracers and accented with copper bangles. The other strand is a good deal longer, and attached only to the jacket, so I could gather it up and hold it as needed.
And the make-up. Mmm, those little details were fun. The obvious part, the eyes, were acheived through black-painted sclera lenses. Had I been a little less out of it when I wore this my first time, I would have followed proper procedures and taken them out every four hours for some time, but I wound up wearing them for ten hours straight. My eyes were glad to be rid of them, but were fine. I think they really added to the costume, though, and I'm glad I made an investment in them. That was the most commented-on part of my costume. The white, which kept fading, was made of Wal-Mart Halloween face paint, because I had run out of time to order things at that point. Next time, I will (hopefully) have better make-up and powder to keep it on and smoother.
And the wig. That's the last thing. I hate it. I'm hoping to invest in a better wig soon - this one was a 14-dollar Halloween one. I could have done Dream's hair with my own, but it would have required temorary dye. I have short strands of beads tied into the hair, and the mullet cut and mussed. I did the final touches to it when I put it on for the first time for the con, but I think it might be retired now.
And I think that's it. This was definately my most expensive, time-consuming, sanity-eating cosplay I ever have (and quite possibly ever will) created.
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