I buckled down, and managed to start and finish my last Anime-Zap! costume over the last two days. Sorry in advance; this is a huge post.
I have a short off-week this week, which sucks, but I have been working ultra-hard the last three days on my convention costumes. It’s definitely crunch time – I have one more off-week between now and the convention and I’m going to be out of town for two days of that! So I really have to finish all the big pieces this week, and hopefully I can work on the little things during my work week, as I have time – something I really try to avoid doing, but I don’t have a choice anymore.
Two of my sister’s costume picks were Vocaloid – the Camellia one I’ve already covered; the other is Kagamine Rin’s “Reactor” outfit – which is undeniably cute, and I was looking forward to making.
I dedicated Friday to working on the dress. Which, as usual, I tackled in a fairly stupid way.
I may have mentioned before, my “day job” is actually a night job – I work third shift on a week-on week-off schedule. The big pro of this is that I get a solid chunk of time to work on costumes on my off-week. The big con is that I am not a daytime person, and it’s extremely hard to force myself into a daytime schedule on days off, which usually results in a constant state of exhaustion and me doing dumb things and making a lot of mistakes that could be avoided.
So, Friday, I got up super-early (noon), went out and got some shopping done, and then got to work on this costume.
I had draped the pattern that morning before going to bed. Had I been thinking more about it, I would have made the dress pattern in three pieces – bust, stomach, and skirt. Actually, had I been thinking about it, I probably would have just draped the dress on my dress form, because I knew those pleats were going to be finicky. But, well, hindsight.
I cut out and assembled my lining first. Thrifted cotton sheet – $1.
I thought the best way to assemble this thing would be to pleat my fabric first, and then cut out my pattern over it. This probably would have worked fairly well if my pattern didn’t have a bust dart. But I went ahead with it anyway.
I cut out the pattern pieces and stitched around the edges to keep the pleats in place. At this point it was still looking good to me. I did each piece – front left, front right, back left, and back right – one at a time, to keep things straight.
I wasn’t liking the way it was looking at this point, but I kept going.
I got everything assembled, threw a zipper in the back, and stitched on some gold trim I had bought. The pleats in the skirt are a little messy, but not so much so that I’ll spend time I don’t have trying to fix them. This dress is finished.
Yesterday, I took on the jacket.
I cut out my pieces, again being careful to get my colors and sides right… only to find out, after googling, that I had it wrong! When I made the dress, I did the pieces black-white-black-white, like a checkerboard. I didn’t realize until I was on the jacket that it was simply half-black, half-white – I made it a lot more complicated than it needed to be. Well, it was too late to start over on the dress, but I had to take the jacket apart and swap some pieces to get it right.
I used Wonder Under to get the black-and-white designs on the front and back of the jacket, and down the sleeves.
I drafted a sleeve pattern the way I usually do, and then assembled them.
I sewed right through the top of my sleeve by not paying attention – d’oh! I managed to steam most of the holes away, though. But they were really obvious in this fabric, which was white cotton broadcloth and black kona cotton – chosen mostly because they were on sale at JoAnn’s, but also I wanted something that would hold a nice pleat.
So, I added some of the same metallic gold trim as is on the skirt to the cuffs and collar, and this project was finished! Not bad for two days’ work! Actually, there are a lot of parts of this outfit I’m not happy with, but it’s unlikely I’ll have time to go back and correct mistakes. I’ll be spending tomorrow finishing the costume I started today, and then hopefully on Tuesday I can finish up some bits and pieces of other things that I’ve not yet gotten to. Then all that will be left will be little things like jewelry, accessories, etc.
I’m not done yet for today; I have two wigs to style before I go to bed… sigh. So much left to do! It’s only my own fault for waiting so long to start these costumes, but still!
Well, I didn’t get nearly as much done this week as I thought I was going to. I had two extra days off for a total of eight days – which seems like a lot of time, but it vanished pretty quickly! Although, I lost two whole days to being sick and I had a lot of chores to do, which ate up most of another day.
I meant to get this whole uniform taken care of this week, but so far, I’ve only got one piece done – the jacket.
So, I studied Lucia’s uniform as best I could given there aren’t a lot of pictures of it and it doesn’t get a lot of screen time in the game. I came up with a list of items to make to complete the outfit: a jacket, pants, boots (or possibly boot cuffs if I have a pair that works,) gloves, and that belt/loincloth type thing she’s wearing. I began with the jacket.
For this project I bought some black stretch sateen, which is a nice looking fabric with a nice sheen, and, bonus, it stretches! I threw together a quick pattern by draping on my dress form, and got to work. There’s no visible opening on the jacket in the picture, but it looks to be double-breasted, so I designed it that way; it comes to about hip-length, and is slightly tapered to a point in the back.
This was my back piece pattern. I added a little extra room to have a pleat at the center back. No other reason than that I though it would look kinda cool.
My mum has a lovely little BabyLock serger, which I don’t often make use of – I put a lining in nearly everything that I make, which eliminates the need to finish the edges. But I didn’t have the time, energy, proper fabric, or desire to line this jacket (I have a feeling it’s going to be hot underneath this and that cape, and I didn’t want to add to that if I didn’t have to) so I opted out of lining it, and serged all the seams instead. So quick and easy!
I was lax with the picture-taking again, but the construction went mostly the same way it always does – I sewed the front and back pieces together, and then drafted a basic sleeve pattern, and attached sleeves. I made a facing for the neckline, and hemmed all the other edges. Then I tried it on to mark out where my button holes would be.
Sewing button holes. Mine are obviously far from perfect, but they serve their purpose. I don’t know if I’ll ever get good at doing button holes and eyelets; mine are always just… a little bit off-looking.
I couldn’t really tell what kind of buttons she’s got on her uniform – they look kind of like they might be gold/red toggles, but there’s no way to tell. So I just grabbed some nice silver military-looking buttons instead.
Here’s the finished jacket, complete with buttons! It turned out quite nice, for something which will mostly not be seen…
I also threw together this belt/skirt/whatever thing she wears around her waist. It’s made of the black stretch sateen and some scraps of the red sateen I used for the cape, and hooks in the back. I’m not sure yet how I’ll get that stripe design or whatever it is on the front of it – I thought of embroidering it, but I’m not sure it will look the way I want. More likely I’ll find some matching fabric or ribbon and just tack it on.
Also, I stumbled upon this really neat app lately for cosplayers – Cosplanner.
It helps you to keep track of your costumes and projects, and I’m finding I like it a lot – It’s clearly designed for cosplayers, but I have ideas of using it for all my costuming projects. And it’s free, so that’s a win! Anyhow, you can see the ones I’m currently working on – all of my and my sister’s Anime-Zap! costumes are there. You can also see how not close to finishing I am overall, considering that this convention is in January – yikes! Having lists and percentages really helps me keep track of things, though, so this app was a great find. Up until now I just had pages and pages of checklists on my phone that I was trying to keep track of, and it was kind of a mess.