Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Mukaido Manaka

I wanted to try my hand at making a seifuku for a school girl so that I could have a comfy cosplay for lazy Sundays at cons.  I chose to make Manaka's costume as my first one because she is such a cute character and I totally adored the series!  I needed to show it some love, not to mention the costume was too cute to pass up!


Dress - I started out with a simple dress pattern that consisted of a princess seamed bodice and a box pleated skirt.  I modified the dress to have knife pleats instead of box pleats and to have a V-neck.  The dress was made using a white fabric that was relatively heavy.  The blue strip along the bottom as well as the blue sailor collar was made out of a knit fabric.  The sailor collar was hand drafted and added to the dress before the lining for the bodice was sewn in.  The dress closes with an invisible zipper located in a side seam.

Sailor Collar
Socks - The socks took very little time to make, I just needed to paint the blue stripe along the top of the knee length white socks.

Painting the socks
Earrings - The earrings were made using white feathers and bobby pins.  I don't have my ear pierced so all the character earring I make use bobby pins to fix them to the wig behind the ear.

Wig - The wig was bought off of an eBay store.  Her hair was pretty simple to make, I only needed to trim the bangs.

Cut bangs
Shoes - I wanted to try and find some brown Mary Janes for this cosplay but I was cheap so I just used my brown flats that I bought for "bare-footed" characters.

Completed Costume

Thursday, 14 January 2016


Fuu has been on my dream cosplay list since I saw Magic Knight Rayearth.  I loved her character and felt that I could relate to her.  One day last winter I decided that I needed to get a MKR group organized to showcase my love for it.  I managed to get my friend Jen to be Hikaru and my cosplay friend Bandit Spurs to be Umi.  We debuted our group at Otakuthon 2015 and it was a huge hit!  Turns out there is a lot of love for old anime!


Top - I made Fuu's top using the same method that I used for Hikaru's.  It was a simple loose tube of white fabric with an elastic at the top and some excess fabric for the built in ruffle.  The long flowy panels were sewn onto the back of the top; there were four in total were made from a light chiffon.

Completed top
Cincher - I decided to make her cincher out of fabric and interfacing.  I used a "soft" corset pattern (no boning) and modified it slightly.  In hindsight I would not make the cincher out of fabric again as the edge where the eyelets had to go was so thick from the layers of material that I had to glue them in place.

Cincher with bias trim
Skirt - The skirt was made by taking circle skirt pattern and modifying it to have an eliptical shape, with the opening off center.  I cut into the hem to form the ragged edge and each edge was narrow hemmed.  A zipper and waistband was used to form the opening.

Skirt Pattern
Over Skirt - This was probably the easiest thing to make for this costume.  I took an old bed sheet, bleached it and used nearly the whole piece for the fabric of the over skirt.  It was sewn onto an elastic waist band leaving a six inch gap at the front to allow the skirt to poke through.  Hardly any hemming was required as I tried to maximize the use of the already finished hems from the bed sheet.

Armband - The armband was made by simply making a cylinder out of fabric larger than my forearm and adding an elastic hem at the wrist end.  The green ribbons were sewn onto the back of the armband.

Boot Covers - Since the source image didn't show what kind of boots she was wearing, I had to improvise what I thought would be on her legs and feet.  I settled on an asymmetric boot cover design where one boot cover extended slightly past her knee and the other hovered around ankle height,  Both boot covers were made using a slightly tampered cylinder of fabric of different lengths.  The taller one also had a green ribbon sewn into the top as an embellishment.

Armour - Most of the effort that went into this costume was focused on the armour portions.  The were ankle pieces and pauldrons, a hip plate and a knee cover.  All the armour was made using EVA foam with acrylic paint.  I decided to make the pauldrons "float" as they seem to not be supported by her shoulders at all in the source artwork.  I also magnified their size to emphasize the unrealistic proportions that Clamp loves to use in their art.

Basic pattern for pauldron set
In order to create the floating illusion, I made the pauldron into two parts, the inner band that wrapped around my arms and the outer shell.  The outer shell was supported by a series of "bones" that connected the floating piece to the armband.  I don't know how feasible this method would work in other materials but because of the lightness of the foam, the pauldron stayed up and didn't fall down my arm.

Construction of the floating pauldron
The hip piece was simpler to make and consisted of a curved elliptical piece and two strips that acted as the belt.  The knee pad and ankle pieces were designed using simple shapes namely a curved ellipse and two half circles.  All the details were made using EVA foam and Styrofoam balls.  The armour pieces were primed with Gesso, then painted with a base coat of black before adding the colour, shadows and highlights using the dry brush method.  The paint job was sealed using a modge podge acrylic spray sealer.

Painted armour set
Wig - I used my original howl wig as a base to style Fuu's wig.  The wig was bought from Arda Wigs in the Inigo style in light blonde.  To get Fuu's adorable curls, I sectioned the hair into curlers and used boiling water to set the fibers.  I soaked it before letting it dry overnight.  Once the curling process was done I actually had to loosen the curls with a comb to get the flowy hair she has in the anime.

Putting the curlers in
Sword - The sword is currently in progress.

Completed Costume, Photo Credits to Another Exposure

Tuesday, 12 January 2016


I really, really wanted to organize a Magic Knight Rayearth group so I gave a shout out to my friends and followers on Facebook.  Bandit Spurs said that she would be totally down to cosplay as Umi and my friend Jen from uni said that she would be Hikaru.  This was Jen's first costume so I offered to make it for her.


Top - The top was pretty simple to make.  It started out as a long rectangle where the length was twice the required length to wrap around her chest.  I sewed the two ends together to make a cylinder then marked a line three inches from the top.  I folded the top edge down from that line and sewed a straight line an inch below the fold.  An elastic that fit right above Jen's bust was placed right under the stitched line with the excess fabric turned under it to create the casing.  Another line was sewn over the fold of the casing with the elastic helping to gather the fabric.  The red sash was made out of a long retangle with each edge rolled hemmed.  The top was hemmed and the sash was sewn on the right side of it.

Skirt - A circle skirt was cut out from the red stretch fabric that fell to about the knees, unhemmed.  A small elastic was sewn to the waist of the skirt and the bottom edge was slit multiple times to create a sort of fringe.  The fringe was rolled hemmed so that each piece ended in a point.  The fringe was cut evenly to mimic the artwork.

Cut Fringe
Over Skirt - The over skirt consisted of two parts, the front piece and the back piece.  The front piece was made using a long rectangle that was hemmed on all edges.  The top part was pleated and sewn in place before it was attached to the elastic that acted as the waist band.  The back part of the skirt was not attached to the elastic but rather worn underneath it with the edges pulled up and over it.  The back piece was also made using a large rectangular piece.

Placing the front and back pieces
Sleeve - The sleeve was pretty simple to construct.  I took a rectangular piece of the white material, sewed it to form a cylinder, hemmed the bottom of the sleeve and turned over the top to sew an elastic casing.  The red ribbons were sewn onto the seam at the top and bottom to form the ties.  The ends of the ribbons were cut on an angle and fray checked.

Boot Covers - The boot covers were made using a pair of knee length socks and the red material that was used for the skirt.  The bottom part of the socks were cut off and a rectangle of the red material was pinned to the sock while I was wearing it.  I hand sewed the red material in place, then hemmed it.  The purple ribbon was also hand sewn to the sock in the back.

Pinning the boot covers
Pauldron - All the armour for this commission was made using EVA foam, contact cement and acrylic paints.  I started out by patterning the different pieces of the pauldron and playing around with different sizes until I got one that I liked.  It was made in four pieces, the rounded top part, the "jewel", the piece under the jewel and finally the bottom part.  I had to break it down into these components due to all the complex curves of the artwork.

Base of the Pauldron
The pieces were glued, heat formed and assembled, with the details added on later.  The round jewels on the side of the pauldrons were made using a Styrofoam ball cut in half.  The large border details were made using EVA foam strips and the thinner details were made using hot glue to make a raised effect.  It was then primed with Gesso and a layer of black paint.  The colours were added in layers, first painting a base coat, then adding shadows and highlights using the dry brush method.  I decided to use ribbon as a mean of attachments and to add a decorative flair.

Cincher - The cincher was made using craft foam and paint, with a lace up front.  The shape of the cincher was drawn out on newspaper, then scaled for size.  Once the final pattern was complete, it was cut from the craft foam twice.  One of the copies was used to make the border of the cincher by cutting out the center of the foam piece.  The two pieces were glued together and then painted in the same way as the pauldron was.  Finally the eyelets were inserting into the opening and the whole thing was sealed to prevent the paint from rubbing on the rest of the custume (it did not work:S).

Adding the eyelets
Belt - The belt is composed of two parts, the armour portion and the cincher portion.  The armour was made using the same methods that I used for the pauldron while the cincher part was similar to that of the actual cincher.  I attached the two components using key rings and ribbon.  The actual belt part was a singled ribbon that was glued to the cincher part and wrapped around the body to tie to the key ring on the other side of the armoured portion.

Bracer - The bracer was a bit tricky to draft out, mostly because my friend's arm is a lot shorter than my own so I couldn't use my arm as a reference for the pattern.  It was made from EVA foam and has gold ribbon attachments that just tie around the arm.  To make it stay in place, industrial double sided tape was used to fix it to the skin.

Knee Armour - The knee armour was fun to make simply because of the intersting shapes I had to cut out from the foam.  They are held up with elastics in the back to prevent them from slipping down the boot covers.

Completed armour pieces
Sword - This was my first time making a sword so it was a large learning curve for me.  I started out with a wooden dowel and insulation foam as a base for the blade.  The base for the hilt was made using expanding foam that was then carved out in the likeness of the artwork.  A couple of layers of papier mache were layed down, them it was primed with wood glue and gesso.  The blade was painted using spray paints while the hilt was hand painted using acrylics.  To finalize it a red ribbon was tied to it and draped carefully around the sword.

The sword hilt
Wig - I bought a cheap red wig off of Ebay for this cosplay, mostly because my friend was on a budget.  The wig turned out to be a little too small for her head which I thought was annoying.  We managed it nonetheless as we kept the hair a bit longer than it should have been to hide her natural hair colour underneath,

Completed Commission, Photo Credits to Another Exposure

Cornwall Photo Shoot + Coticon 2015 Journal

This year I was able to attend two of the events organized by the Coticon committee!  The first event was scheduled in early summer and was a complete outdoor event.  Thank goodness we had great weather!  It was a photo shoot type of event, where cosplayers and photographers mingled and had lots of fun derpy moments together,  I was cosplaying as Mew Zakuro and I attended the event with my good friends Bandit Spurs (casual photographer), Tsuki no StarDust (Masked Lumen and Father Balder) and Tattered Tartan (kilt wearing photographer).

Mew Zakuro, Photo Credits to Cyberfox007 Photography
Upon arrival I was greeted by a cute little Alice cosplayer (Pandora Hearts) who was so happy that I was cosplaying as a Mew.  I'm pretty sure I made her day!  Anniechie of course was running around being an organizer and a cosplayer (Esmerelda) at once.  Luckily organizing a photo shoot day doesn't need a whole lot of supervision so she was able to partake in some of the photo shoots that happened.  We spent the whole afternoon at the event, made some new friends and enjoyed a few derpy moments.

Cosplay Friends!
The second event that I attended was the actual convention Coticon 2015.  Unfortunately due to my family having a last minute gathering the same day I could only attend for half of the day.  I wore my Sakura Hime cosplay that day and surprisingly I didn't die of the heat, which is saying something as the convention was held in late August!  The morning started off with Bandit Spurs, StarDust and I giving a cosplay 101 panel.  It was my second panel that I've done but it was my first time being the lead of the panel.  I think we did pretty well since we got an applause at the end of it!

Bandits, StarDust and I giving the Cosplay 101 Panel
Right after the panel I joined up with Tsuki no StarDust, SawakoMio and Mizuki and Pheli for a huge Tsubasa photo shoot!  We had lots of fun setting up the photos with the massive chair and derping around.  All too soon I had to change and leave in order to get back to my parent's place for the family gathering.  It was great fun, even if I didn't get to hang around all that much!  I look forward to next year's Coticon and who knows, maybe I'll even make a more specialized cosplay panel!

SawakoMio and I as Twin Sakuras