Final Fantasy VIII
Last Updated: 09-03-2011
I first made a Selphie costume for my first con, AmeCon 2004. Selphie's one of my favourite characters, and I love yellow, so it was an obvious choice.
For my first costume, the dress was stretchy t-shirt cotton which meant I couldn't add the zip without it rippling since this was back when I didn't know about interfacing. I also couldn't find a silver zipper which was long enough, so I painted one with nail polish. The dress fabric was stretchy enough so the zip didn't have to function. I used dungaree clips which I found in John Lewis and made the charms for the zipper and necklace by painting real shells silver and gluing them on. The arm ribbon was a nuisance, so was mostly taped in place. The wig was bought in that style, which made it worthwhile even although it was far too dark. This was back in the days when there were fewer affordable, decent wigs around. The boots were the pair I also used for Rikku Songstress at the same con.
The nunchuks were a lot of work, and my first ever weapon, constructed with a lot of my dad's help. The size and materials were restricted by the convention rules and choosing the material for the star and moon took a while. They were originally made from clay, but that was too heavy, fragile and difficult to attach to the sticks. The moon survived carving from pine wood, but the star was too complex, so is made from balsa wood. They’re carved with a stem to attach them, which was glued into a hole in each stick. Because of the fragility of balsa wood, the star has a metal pin in the stem for added security. My dad cut out the basic shapes for me and I did the sanding, primer, paint and varnish. For the sticks, I already had a piece of broom handle that was the perfect length and thickness, but the other broom handle I bought turned out to be thinner. I had to wrap it in paper to bring it up to the same thickness! Sadly, the nunchuks were damaged on the way back from the con with both the star and moon snapping off.
For AyaCon 2011, I decided to remake the costume since everything needed redone except for the nunchuks, which only needed repaired. I’d kept them all these years but never go around to fixing them! My dad was able to join the pieces again with araldite and a screw for support. They were then given a fresh coat of paint and I spray painted a plastic chain silver to complete them. My dad also made a polystyrene box to hold them and hopefully prevent any damage in transit again.
For my new dress, I dyed some white cotton drill I already had with Dylon’s machine dye. I used a basic princess seamed dress pattern (New Look 6468) and an old set of curtains to make a mock-up, get the dress to fit me and mark out where all the additional seams needed to be. I then cut it up along those seam lines and made a second mock-up to test it out and perfect the pattern. There are 16 panels making up the dress. I took apart one half of this mock-up to use as a pattern for the final dress.
Every seam is flat-felled and topstitched down either side. With all those seams, I regretted this approach soon enough and ran out of thread! The pockets were lined because it seemed to be an easy way to neatly finish the curved edges, then they were topstitched to attach them to the dress. The white label was also all lined to finish the edges and to ensure it wasn’t see-through, then topstitched on. I was able to get a suitable silver separating zip in the right length, but it was silver on black fabric, so I sprayed painted the fabric silver before sewing it in.
I sewed on straps at the back, then decided that the dress needed lined since the seam allowances were showing through. I had just enough yellow fabric to cut out the dress again. This time I didn’t need all the seams, so I took apart the other half of my mock-up to use as a pattern, but kept some of the pieces joined so there were fewer seams. The lining went much more quickly without all those seams and the raw edges were all simply overlocked. With the lining assembled, I sewed it right sides together to the top edge and down the centre front. Those edges were then topstitched and the dress hemmed.
I bent wire into triangles for the dungaree clasps at the front and these loop over studs set into the dress. The zip pull was sculpted from fimo and painted with silver nail polish. It’s attached to the zip with a loop of jewellery wire. I used a shell necklace I found online.
I already had a suitable pair of suede boots and had some matching suedette for them from the boot toppers I made for my Elizabeth Swann costume. I used that suedette and stiff interfacing to make the straps for the tops. The belt loops are sewn to the strap and the whole thing just sits in place by itself round the top of the boots. Being suede, it sort of sticks like velcro and doesn’t shift much. I wanted to avoid doing anything to attach the straps since I wear the boots normally. The silver buckles were taken from my old Dagger gloves.
The wig is New Look’s Angela wig from CosWorx in colour 12. I cut in the fringe, straightened it with the hot water method, trimmed it shorter and then had to curl it. I separated the wig into three sections and made three big rollers from card. I used some double-sided tape to initially secure some of the ends of the hair to them and gradually wrapped the hair around the rollers in layers, using Tresemme freeze hold hairspray to stick all the hair to itself and keep it in place around the roller. When complete, I clipped the rollers in place and left it to all dry out. It worked very well, but I did have to revisit one of the curls to get it completely secure.
Finally, the arm ribbon needs lots of help from double-sided tape. I ordered green contacts from Contactlenses.co.uk, they’re FreshLook Colorblends in gemstone green.
I already had almost everything for this costume, I only had to buy the dye, thread, zip, ribbon, contacts and a small amount towards the wig since it came about as a sort of gift :P so I estimate I spent about £30 on this remake!
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