Lucia cosplay for Anime-Zap! 2015

I’m getting excited – all of my costumes are nearly done!

I’m hopefully going to get everything finished and take some photos of each costume this week.  Here’s the first installment: some photos of my Lucia cosplay, which might be my favorite thing ever.

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I really just love this costume, now that it’s all come together.

The cape and jacket I covered in previous posts; the trousers I whipped up last week, and they were so much easier than I expected.  I literally just traced around a pair of jeans I own that fit me really well, and used that as my pattern; I serged all the seams, put a couple of darts at the waist, and put a hook to close them in the front.  They’re pretty utilitarian – nothing fancy (although I did mean to do pockets, but I forgot >_>) but they fit great and look great.  So I’m quite pleased.

I still need to make the hat and gloves, and the armor, which I’m working on tonight with some craft foam.  Also need to add a hook to the top of the jacket, because the neckline kind of flops open a little when I move around.  The boots are a pair that I own already, and they look good enough that I’m not going to bother with boot covers or cuffs or anything like that.  Although I’m a little miffed that I didn’t take into account the heels, and so the cape falls just a bit short of hitting the ground when I’m wearing it.  But it’s so not a big deal in the grand scheme of things.

I think I’ve got my makeup down for this cosplay, too; the wig still needs some work.  I’ve used a number of cheap Ebay wigs over the years, but this one I think is the worst in quality I’ve ever had – it’s super thin and really unmanageable despite spending a week in a fabric softener bath to sleek it up.  It came with a lot of built-in snarls, too, that I had to cut out they were so tangled.  I’m hoping once I have the hat on it will disguise the fact that the wig sucks a little bit.

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Lucia cosplay for Anime-Zap! 2015 – cape

I made a change to my line-up for the convention, and instead of doing the Dark Althena costume from Lunar: Silver Star Story, I’ll be doing Lucia from Lunar: Eternal Blue instead.

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There were a lot of reasons for this decision:

1. Despite trying a number of times to redesign the Dark Althena costume for modesty in a way that pleased me, I couldn’t come up with something I really liked, and honestly I dislike the idea of changing a design just to suit myself.

2. It’s going to be January in Chicago, and I really don’t want to be wearing next to nothing even if I plan to be inside the whole time.

3. I own Lucia’s pendant – the PSOne re-release of Lunar 2 had arguably one of the coolest box sets of any video game ever, and inside that box set, along with a whole bunch of other goodies, was a life-size official replica of Lucia’s pendant, which just made me wonder why in the heck I never considered this cosplay before in my life!

4.  Lucia is badass, is any other reason needed?

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This costume required some thought before I went about actually starting to make it.  She doesn’t wear it for very long in the game and there aren’t really any good pictures of what the whole thing looks like (the bromide above is the best image you get of what she’s wearing.)  How the cape looks under the neck/shoulder thing she’s wearing and how it fastens together is not really clearly seen.

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There’s obviously an opening in the front, however it seems to overlap quite a bit – shoulder to shoulder, at least, because when she stands with her arms inside, there is no obvious opening.  I sketched some designs, and came up with a basic design for a cape that is made of straight panels, gathered at the shoulders to give it volume, with some kind of a collar, that overlaps from shoulder to shoulder.  I played with some old sheets on my dress form, and came up with a basic working pattern.

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I used red cotton sateen for this cape – not a choice I’m entirely happy with in retrospect; I think I might have preferred something even heavier.  I traced my pattern pieces onto the fabric, and then extended the shoulder width, to allow for room for pleating.

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I pleated the shoulders on the cape back panel, which was one piece, and the two front panels, and then sewed them all together with french seams. I had to take in the shoulders a number of times because they were too big and gave this weird sort of balloony effect that I didn’t like.  I think a heavier fabric would have hung better.  Anyway, I just kept taking in my seams until it fell nicely from my shoulders.

For the collar, I just wanted to make a simple standing collar – it won’t be seen anyway underneath the neck piece/shoulder armor thing, whatever it is.

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I was going to line the collar with some stiff canvas I had, but lo and behold, it was nowhere to be found… naturally!  So instead, I cut two more strips of the sateen and stitched them to the inside – the stitch line is on the inside of the collar so it doesn’t bother me.  Then I attached the collar, and hand tacked it down on the inside.  The extra layers of fabric help it to stand quite nicely without flopping around.

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Here’s the top of the cape, all finished – doesn’t look like much, does it?  I put hooks in two places on the collar to keep it shut, since it overlaps almost the entire front half of the collar.

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And here’s me, tiredly modeling the cape!  Right now, it’s only pinned where it overlaps in the front, but I’m going to put some buttons there, probably the same ones I’ll put on the rest of the costume when I get around to making it.

 

So, I got something accomplished today, even if it wasn’t what I planned to!  It gives me such a feeling of accomplishment to finish things in one day – I’ve broken up all my costume lists into small tasks that can be done in a day.  It’s back to work tomorrow, but next week I’ll be tackling the black uniform that Lucia wears.

Capes!

Seems like fall is the perfect time to think about capes.

I know I’ve been lax in updating lately; I haven’t had much going on.  I got kicked in the teeth by Real Life the past few weeks so costuming is on hold (which reeeeally pains me to say because the months are ticking away toward January so quickly!)  recently, I sold my first custom order through my Etsy store, which I feel is a big step!  I meant to dedicate a lot more time to beefing up my store over the summer, but what with one thing and another, it got put on the back burner.  I’d like to start putting more effort into it now that things have calmed down a (very) little bit.

anyhow, my first sale was an 18th century wool cloak, which turned out quite beautifully!  then, at a department store the other day, I was wandering around the accessories area when I happened upon racks and racks of capes for fall!  capes everywhere!  I tried on a bunch for fun, and remembered how much I love a good cape.  of course, when I checked the price tags, my enthusiasm popped like a balloon.  who’s gonna pay $150 for a fleece cape?!  and naturally, I thought: why not make my own?

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this was the cape I liked and used as my inspiration.  what was the price on this cape, you ask?  $120.  I headed over to the fabric store, grabbed some rolls of fleece and faux fur out of the remnants bin, and got to work.

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a fairly unflattering picture of me wearing the finished product.

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this thing took me maybe a whole hour to whip together, and only that long because I hand-finished the edges where the fur is attached.  It’s basically a circle cloak, slightly stretched and gathered at the back neckline (inspired by 18th century cloaks, just because I like the look of it.)  It’s made of thick gray fleece and some shaggy faux fur.  it closes with a hook at the neckline.  it’s sort of an oblong circle, I suppose, because the center front and back are longer than the sides.  if I did it again, I’d make the sides longer.

gray fleece remnant: $3

faux fur remnant: $4

total cost: $7

can you even beat that?  huh?

spring green 1770s gown

aka the “why the heck did I start this project now” gown.

this is something I worked on a few months ago, early in the year.  the only real reason is because I got this lovely emerald green colored taffeta at a perishing $1.50 a yard on clearance, and I was itching to do something with it.  I had visions of a ball gown in my head.

This gown took me the better part of three weeks to complete, working on and off, and was sewn entirely by hand (mostly due to the fact that most of the time I spent working on it was in the middle of the night.)  it’s 1770’s-ish, but I didn’t use any particular pattern or go for a certain style.  I wanted to make “just your basic 18th century gown” – something really simple in style and construction.

these pictures were all taken back in February, when we had one chance nice day in the midst of a really long streak of crummy weather.  it was super windy that day, but it was the first clear day we’d had in months.  in fact, it was so clear that the sun blinded me and I ended up making derpface in most of the pictures.  (this outfit did have a hat, I should mention, but I had forgotten it at home that day.  in any case, the wind was so strong that I’m not sure it would have stayed on my head!)

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we went out to the DeKoven Center, which is a nice historic site in the area, for pictures.  I wanted to find an old historical house to take some indoor pictures, but unfortunately none of the ones around here are open this time of year.

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we didn’t really plan ahead to do photos that day, so my outfit was really thrown together.  the gown still needs a little more work.  like I said, I forgot my hat, and I don’t have any accessories, just a black ribbon I happened to have in my bag to tie around my neck.  how sorely underdressed I was!  my wig wasn’t helping either; it looked fine to me when we left the house, but it went flat rather quickly once I was out and about.  definitely needs more poof!

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I went a little ways into the woods for some pictures.  I quickly regretted that.  I am about shin-deep in show here; I put my boots on to go walking (you can see my laces in the second pic!) but that didn’t prevent my feet from getting soaked.

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I’m doing major derpface in this pic, but it’s one where you can see my shoes.  these shoes are not at all appropriate for being outside where we were, but they matched the outfit, so I put them on for a few shots.  they’re mules that I scored at the thrift store and refashioned for this outfit, and they’re really quite cute; I want to get some pictures with them once this outfit is really finished.

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here are some shots where you can see the bodice of the gown.  you can see how bare I am under the cape – no jewelry, no engageantes, a fichu or anything.  it needs some work still – you can see the sleeve coming off my shoulder.  I’m not sure if that was because my stays were laced a bit tighter that day than they had been when I was fitting the bodice, because it was a little too loose at the waist, as well, and the center overlapped more than it should have.

now, for the construction:

sorry to say, I haven’t any pictures of the work I did on this gown.  as I said, this was kind of a project I whipped together in spare moments when I was bored, or couldn’t sleep, and just felt like sewing.

I didn’t use a pattern, just draped pieces on my dress form until I had a bodice pattern that resembled patterns of that era.  the gown itself was draped on my dress form, and is cut en forreau – with the back bodice and skirt in one piece.  it didn’t come out perfect – my pleats are a little skewed to one side.  the top skirt, you can see as well, is a bit shorter than the petticoat underneath.

the bodice closes at the front center with pins – I plan to go back and add hooks eventually, but I don’t mind closing it with pins.

the sleeves gave me some trouble.  the first sleeves I drafted were too tight; I couldn’t squeeze my arms into them (I have fat upper arms :O)  I removed those, and then drew up a sleeve pattern by studying the ones in Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion I, and ended up with a much better fit.

I know I posted pictures of my cape some time ago, but I never covered the construction of it.  it’s so simple that there’s not much to say.  it’s basically a long rectangle, pleated at the neckline.  the fashion layer is red velvet; it’s inner-lined with flannel, and the lining is a soft maroon cotton.  the fur is thrifted from a faux-fur coat I found at a thrift store some time back.  tacking on the fur trim was the most time-consuming part of the whole piece, which I started and finished in two days.

 

I’m not considering this gown finished yet – it needs some fitting work, and some accessories to really call it an outfit.  but I’m afraid I won’t have time to revisit it probably until summer.  I’ve got too much going on between now and June to do as much as I’d like… >_>

18th century inspired cape

just a quick and dirty post with some quick and dirty pictures of the pelisse I made a few weeks ago.  it’s inspired by the styles of capes in the mid to late 18th century, but isn’t wholly period.  I was experimenting with styles and techniques.

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it’s made of almost entirely thrifted materials, and was therefore wonderfully cheap.  the faux fur came from a huge fur coat I picked up at a thrift store (I really mean huge; I’ve still got enough fur left for a whole other cape after this one!) and the red velvet I snagged at an estate sale a while back.  it’s not really as vibrant as it appears in the photos.  the cape is inner-lined in flannel from my stash, and lined with maroon cotton, which was the only thing I bought for this project.

I’m not sure I’m happy with the way the hood looks; at the time I was working on it, I was feeling too lazy to mess around with pleats and get that characteristic look of 18th century hoods.  the hood is entirely lined with fur, for warmth, but it’s pretty full and pointy looking.  something I may redo at some future point.

I’m just waiting for the weather to warm up a little – at least to bearable temperatures – to get some decent photos of my pretty new winter things out in the snow.  but I also have another project that I’m working on this week, of which I may have some pictures soon.