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Hello again

Hello, hello, welcome to my cave happy holidays to you all! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Just over 8 months, in fact. I have a belated gift for my abundance of faithful readers this fine Boxing Day: [jazz hands] Yours Truly has returned!

Melodrama aside, I’ve missed posting on here! I’m planning on getting back into it, but it won’t be on a weekly schedule like I’ve used before – I can’t handle it with my uni workload, and I’d rather just make good quality posts when I’m free to. I’m still going to try and keep to a pattern since it’s nicer for both you and I, and everyone keeps telling me that making a schedule is essential for building better time management. I suppose I’d better give it a try!

In terms of content I’ll still be the same old work logs, tips that may or may not be useful to anyone at all, and well overdue con reports because they’re absolutely exhausting. I might also drop a fandom meta post or media review here or there, mostly because I’ve gotten into Xenoblade recently and Shulk’s unwillingness to ask for help feels like a personal callout and an essay waiting to be written.

So, where have I been these past months? In chronological order: uni, more uni, moved home for summer break, HyperJapan, home again, Cornwall, home, moved back to London, uni, MCM, HyperJapan, uni, home again for the holidays. I’ve been stupidly busy. A couple of weeks ago we broke for winter break, concluding the first term of my second year. It was a doozy of a term and my mental health dipped quite harshly in the latter half, but I’m feeling better now and I’m hoping I can get the ball rolling more than ever when we return in the New Year.


Cosplay wise, a lot more has gone down than I realised! I’ve made and bought a lot of costumes, and wound up going to more events than ever even though I said I’d calm it down this year. I made 9S (Nier Automata) and Dito (Drakengard 3), though 9S was the only one I made totally from scratch. I spent about a month at the start of summer working on him and it was a real step up in terms of my construction – I’m very proud of what I achieved with him! I put Dito together in 2 weeks during the autumn term (even though I shouldn’t have) because I love him.

I also did a lot more proper photoshoots this year, and it’s so nice having decent photographs of my cosplays. It really steps up your game, and gives you the chance to create a narrative around your costume or to show off the details properly. It’s been a lot of fun! I did a couple of dream shoots – a Madoka Magica shoot with Charis, which we’ve been talking about for years, and a couple of Nier Automata shoots with Kym which were in amazing locations. The rest of the year was a nice mix of shoots with friends and with actual photographers, which I hadn’t really done before! I still want to work on my posing skills; I feel like my facial expressions can let me down quite a lot sometimes!

I can’t embed it for some reason but here’s an instagram post summing up visually what I got up to this year!


This is going to be my only post before 2019, so let’s have a look back at last year’s summary and goals! How did my resolutions and cosplans turn out, I wonder?

  • Cheerleader Honoka: huge success! We wore the cheer set for our first stage performance at MCM and it was a blast!
  • Angel Riko: nope
  • Princess Tutu: nope (still a tentative plan though!)
  • Uranus and Neptune: nope
  • Kuranosuke Koibuchi: nope, but I’d still like to remake the dress someday
  • Ryuko Matoi: nope
  • Sorting out my sleep schedule, staying on top of uni work, joining the gym, watching my diet, learning languages, reading more books, regularly dancing, using WordPress: [laughing hysterically, crying a little]

It was a good year though, all the bullshit and fallen-through plans aside. I think I’ve gotten a lot more confident and independent, and my crafting has improved a bit. I’m excited for plans that are currently in the works even if I’m a bit nervous about the exponentially increasing workload of the upcoming terms.

To be truthful, I’m concerned that I’ll have to give up cosplay and socialising for the next year and a half until my degree is completed, and I really don’t want to do that because things have finally gotten to a good point. I’ve got a good momentum going and I’m enjoying the current state of affairs, and it feels as if I’m going to have to give up all these opportunities and plans in what might be the best years of my life just because I have such shitty time management skills that attending two cons in one month sent me spiralling into a bad spot and led to me considering dropping out. I don’t want to have to step down from Ai no Aidoru because I can’t cope with the workload, or postpone Vanellope again because I can’t work on more than one costume at once. If I can’t juggle these things now, how am I ever going to function once I’m actually doing paid work in the industry?


…anyway, let’s have a look at those plans for next year, shall we? (Click the character names for a reference image~)

  • Princess Vanellope: Hey, remember when I said I’d finish her for May 2018? I lied. But I saw Wreck it Ralph 2 this week (it was amazing), and I got the base fabric pleated up during a recent internship, and now I’m ready to crack on with my biggest plan of the year! I was mostly putting her off due to fear of irreparably damaging the fabric, but my concerns have been resolved and I’m much more confident about tackling her than I was. I’m also prepared to go as slow and steady as I need, and if that means I don’t get her done until October, so be it. I hope not though, because I have other plans in mind for October already…
  • Valentine’s Honoka: This cosplay has been sitting half done for an age. I really want to finish her this year! Hopefully in time for Vday itself since she shouldn’t be too hard to complete, but we’ll see how that goes – I have to remake the skirt since I didn’t like the pleating I did last time, but other than that all I really have to do is the armband and some accessories.
  • A2 (Nier Automata): I love my grimy robot wife! I really enjoyed the makeup test I did for her this summer and I think I suit her well, so it’ll be fun to cosplay her in full! It’ll also be nice to wear something to HJ (if I go) that isn’t heatstroke central like 9S was…
  • The Monado: I really want to get into prop making! The Monado is a gorgeous weapon and it lights up, what’s not to love? I’d love to cosplay my boy Shulk too but I wouldn’t be able to make his outfit at the moment – catch me at HJ in his swimsuit skin I Guess?? I’m only half joking. somebody stop me
  • Onion Knight: I’ve seen half of Dissidia Final Fantasy, about 10 minutes of NT, and I’ve never played FFIII. But I love my ridiculous onion son and I have a load of fabric that’d work perfectly for him (mostly because I did the dip dyeing for Mercy before I gave up on that plan) and I cannot be stopped. Okay, I really can and I’m not going to commit to this until I’ve actually finished Dissidia and NT, but I love his design and it’d be a great opportunity to do a more complex wig too.
  • Dito (Drakengard 3): When I cosplayed Dito at October MCM my outfit was only half finished – I’m missing all his armour pieces, weapons and his belts. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever make the remaining parts but papillonreine is planning to make Five’s armour, so I’m going to finish Dito up so we can cosplay them together! The dynamic between Dito and Five is an utter trainwreck and it’ll be really fun to portray.
  • Games Parade: I really enjoyed this event! I’m going to fix up 9S a bit (aka redo his boots entirely because the heels fell off the last time I wore them) and hopefully compete in the lil masquerade! It’s way too much fun walking around in a blindfold but still being able to see; people always look so confused.
  • Love Live meet: We’re going to host the Love Live meet at May MCM! Cosplay meets are always fun and are a great way to make friends, and we’re planning to have some local groups performing so we can celebrate the growing London LL! scene. Ai no Aidoru also have some other sneaky plans (stage time. it’s a stage time application) in the works but they’re out of our hands for now, so watch this space!

I also want to share some characters and outfits that I desperately want to make and will absolutely never get around to, for whichever reason, because I’ve found that acknowledging my terrible plans tends to let me make peace with moving on.

  • Halloween Mari: I’m still on my Halloween bullshit. It’s a permanent state of being. This outfit is super cute, but sadly Mari is still as uninspiring to me as ever. One day I’m going to make a super cute Halloween outfit, but I always let my plans for MCM take up any prep time I could’ve used, so I need to plan something out in advance…
  • Kuja (FFIX): The only reason that Onion Knight is on my list of plans and Kuja is being banished forever is that I haven’t got as much fabric I could use for this outfit. He looks so outrageous. I mean, what is that, a thong-codpiece? Kuja. Please. I love his godawful outfit with my entire heart and I’m definitely going to get my hands on FFIX at some point because I love Zidane too and I really want to know both their stories. Just watch as I play through the game and stick him straight back on my plans list or something, I’m telling you.
  • Ryuko Matoi: It is with a heavy heart that I type my best girl’s name on this list. Realistically speaking, I’m never going to make space for this to happen, and I’m just as insecure about looking like that as I ever was (I say, putting Ryuko just after Kuja, who reveals virtually just as much skin and who I would probably cosplay in a heartbeat if I had the means – but I have my reasons).
  • Kallian Antiqua: Kallian ticks literally every box for me. Wings? Intricate armour that I definitely wouldn’t know how to make? Blue-white colour scheme? Silver haired pretty boy with a vaguely tragic story? Sign me up. I love him. As much as I’m dying to bash his outfit out (so I can show my appreciation for him and also have a pair of wings while I’m at it) I don’t think I’d suit him, and his armour does scare me a little. His art also reminds me a lot of the winged Love Live sets (White Day and Angel), which have the unfortunate tendency to look a lot nicer in 2D than real life – in artwork you can take as many liberties with physics as you want, but in real life you have limited options and there’s a very real risk of things looking much sadder and flatter than you expected. This is the fate that befell my Lisia cosplay too.

That’s not as many cosplays as I was expecting, actually! I always think I have dozens of plans because I’m constantly looking out for outfits I’d like to make, but when push comes to shove I won’t actually do any of them. I used to be a lot more impulsive and would buy random supplies on a whim for any plan that came my way but I’ve learnt to give it plenty of time to think things over – usually a character catches my eye because of an interesting design or because they look like they’d be an unusual challenge, but I wouldn’t actually want to do it myself.


I think that’s it for now! 2019 is going to be a wild ride of a year – I think 2018 wasn’t honestly that bad until October, and then it all went to shit very quickly for about six weeks, and that felt like an entirely separate year. Next year is going to be harder than ever at uni – I’ve got to start thinking about my dissertation, god – and I have a couple of big plans in mind. I have to prioritise classwork and find a way to balance my hobbies, but hopefully it won’t come at the cost of doing things I enjoy. This is the year I suss time management, I swear.

This has turned into a monster post, oops! Bless you if you read all the way to the end haha. That’s always the way though – until next time, have a wonderful holiday and a happy new year!

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Taking the plunge

If you’ve read my most recent post you’ll know I’ve been deliberating about my costume plans for MCM May. You might be pleased to hear, then, that I’ve finally picked what I’m going to make: Vanellope von Schweetz’s princess gown!

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Wait, what? I hear you cry. She wasn’t on your list of weird villains and brooding alcoholics! Yeah, I know, but the thing is I’ve been looking for something big to make – and when I say big I mean both visually impressive and detailed in construction. And back when I first saw Wreck it Ralph I wanted to cosplay her, so it’s nice to follow through on that distant dream! Also I already have a gravestone that says “death by sparkles” so I think I should get a move on.

So far I’ve been fabric scouting, picked up some ribbons to make her choker, and ordered a huge 6 hoop crinoline off eBay. Today I’m headed out to actually buy the fabric I looked at, and am hoping to pick up a friend’s old bun wig so I don’t have to buy one myself. The wheels are practically in motion, huh?

I’m so pumped for this costume because I’m determined to make it as glitzy and extra as possible. I won’t go too overboard because it’s already fairly out there, but it’d be fun to make the small things (like the choker and possibly the ruff) two-tone and extra shiny. It’s hard to find good detail shots of this outfit because Vanellope ripped it off as fast as possible (same honestly) but yesterday I spotted that the ruff actually has an embossed design below the cutouts. That’s a good spot for some pearlescent paints if I’ve ever seen one.

One other exciting thing: I’ve registered to take part in the MCM masquerade with this costume! Also, it looks like MCM are partners with a new cosplay competition, the International Cosplay League, and I’ve decided to try my hand at entering as a solo contestant! I’m not sure if travel costs are covered for finalists – but I must say it does feel a bit cocky to think about that haha!


This costume isn’t the only thing I’m primed to jump into, either! I head back to halls in a couple of days for the busiest weekend in the world – on Friday (April 13th, or 413) I’ll be at the annual Homestuck meet in Hyde Park, and on Saturday I’ll be heading to the London Games Festival cosplay parade.

This is my first time getting to attend a 413 meet! I’ve wanted to go to one for years, ever since I started reading Homestuck in late 2012. Last year I celebrated by redoing my god tier John cosplay and taking some photos, which was really fun, but it’ll be so nice to hang out with other cosplayers of similar interests. I know some friends of mine will be there too and it’ll be great to catch up with them!

I’m a little intimidated by the thought of the cosplay parade since I’m not much of a gamer, and it’s only open to game character cosplays. That said, I’ll be going with a friend here too, so I don’t have too much to worry about. I’ve been doing up my Junko cosplay in preparation – I still have lots to do though, oops – and I’ve taken my first serious foray into wig styling as a result.

…“Serious foray”, ha. I’ve barely taken scissors to the thing! I should have done my Junko wig up like this years ago, but only now have I really attacked it with some hairspray. It’s much poofier now and has the distinct tendril thing that Junko’s got going on in her artwork. Mmm, crispy. I’m excited to wear it – I think my makeup’s gotten a lot better in the last couple of years too so I should look a lot better than I did last time!

(The hairy horror is surprisingly hard to get photos of though, so I can’t show it off until I wear it for real. Typical!)


And one more new adventure to share, though it’s not cosplay this time: I’ve gotten into Persona 5 recently! I don’t actually own the game – believe me I’d buy it if I owned something I could actually play it on – but I have waded a few hours deep into a commentary-free playthrough. I started this after I decided to watch the first episode of the anime on a whim, and found myself needing more immediately.

The game is a lot slower than the show (I’m not surprised – they’re condensing something that’s like a hundred hours long, after all) so I doubt I’ll finish it before next week’s episode airs. I don’t think it’s a good idea to follow the game and anime simultaneously either, and it’ll be fun to binge the anime a bit too, I think. Win-win! Also, now I have an excuse to look at more Joker cosplays – I swear everyone who cosplays him is really attractive? And his outfit is so nicely tailored, it’s so satisfying looking at it! He’s just pretty full stop to be honest. I’m a lesbian I swear

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he’s too pretty he needs to stop,,, but also this is a great opportunity to mention that I really love this graphic style used in the game! It looks so cool!

Aaaanyway now I’ve got that unexpected Joker appreciation off my chest I can conclude this post, lol! Next time I post it’ll either be something small like a meet write up or a fabric haul, or I’ll be giving you a rundown of the biggest dress I’ve ever made. We won’t know until it happens!

Thanks for reading, and see you next time!

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Cosplans, indecision and the perception of self

It’s getting to the time of year where I need to lock down who I’ll be cosplaying at May MCM, so I can give myself a decent amount of time to make my costume. My biggest problem is procrastinating – it’s practically the sole reason that I’ve been dissatisfied with half my cosplays, because I don’t have enough time to finish them properly or to add extra details that would take them to the next level.

The problem this time around is that I don’t know who I’ll be cosplaying, and narrowing down my choices is proving more difficult than it should be! There are a few reasons for this but I don’t want this post to be too heavy or personal, so instead I’m going to list off who I’m considering, touching briefly on why I can’t choose.

(By the way, you should totally let me know in the comments if you have a preference for which character you’d like to see me do!)


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Salem (RWBY) – I love Salem’s design, and she’s so haughty and evil that I think her personality would be fun to portray as well. Construction would be a good balance of simple and technical – her dress is a fairly simple tailored shape, but it has sleeves that also form a cape…? which have a gradient lining that I would probably dye myself. I already have an abundance of black and dark red velvet which would reduce the cost of this costume by a good chunk too. There’s also the matter of her hair, which would probably need to be an entirely custom made wig (it’ll need foamcore anyway but the high ponytail style is also very uncommon outside lacefronts).

However, I’m unsure as to whether I actually want to cosplay Salem or whether I just think it would be fun to make. Typically the villains I’ve cosplayed have been very exaggerated and cartoonish (Cruella and, to an extent, Junko), while Salem is much more icy and distant. I know I’d enjoy doing her makeup but I’m really uncertain if I want to commit to wearing her for a whole day.


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John (Homestuck) – I’d probably wear John for half a day after performing as Honoka, since the cosplay is simple enough to easily stuff in a bag. I haven’t cosplayed Homestuck to a con in a long time and I’d like to get more involved in the community, so it’d be nice to go to a meet, but I suspect that scheduling won’t let this happen.

I’ve got a few modifications to make to this cosplay like topstitching the hood collar, adding grips to hold the hood up on the wig and redoing the shirt entirely, but I’d also like to get a new wig – probably a fancy expensive one so it looks nice and is thick enough to style – and get a new pair of shoes in the correct style and size.


Mettaton EX (Undertale) – I had a really good time wearing Mettaton previously and he gives me a confidence boost because his body type matches mine. To skirt the issue at hand, I’ve been thinking a lot about my gender and my body again of late, and I’m considering revisiting Mettaton to give myself some kind of reassurance on that front. I’m wavering over whether I should commit to cosplaying a female character like Salem at a time like this, even though cosplay =/= gender and whatnot. As much as you aren’t your character, there’s also the fact that cosplay can be a form of self expression and exploration.

I would love to do a proper chestplate for MTT using foam and some kind of PVC fabric, and I think my makeup and wig styling would look a lot better this time too. I’m also dying to cover a Kpop song in this costume but I trip in the heels when I’m standing still (they’re uncomfy too so I’m hesitant to do that for a full day again) so I’m digging my own grave here…


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Qrow (RWBY) – I’m definitely going to make Qrow at some point anyway, because I love him and it’d be great fun to break down his cape, make his beard/stubble, make Harbinger (his weapon) etc… I did a small makeup test not so long ago and I actually think I’d look pretty good as him! Though I also did a poll on instagram recently, asking whether I should cosplay Qrow or Salem first, and Salem absolutely wrecked the competition with 90% of the votes!


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Final Pam (Monster Factory) – Words cannot describe how much I love Final Pam. When my friend and I watched the Fallout Monster Factory episodes together we laughed so hard we cried, and I can’t resist the opportunity to be completely extra and ridiculous in cosplay. Final Pam’s outfit would be so much fun to make in terms of breaking down (and probably covering in blood let’s be real) especially since I haven’t really used these techniques before and have angled towards cosplaying cute and sparkly girls in the last couple of years. However, the feathered dress and jacket would have to be made of pleather, and it’s probably too hot for that in May.

I did a makeup test for her as well and… I looked hideous! It’s the best! I genuinely love being extremely outlandish and weird with what I put on my face (though I don’t wear it out or anything) and hoo boy would this be a prime example. Case in point: I posted selfies of the test on my story and an IRL friend came up to me like “hey, um, the Hell is this?” – excellent!


So, those are the options I’ve been toying with! My biggest issues with sorting my lineup are the uncertainty re. my own gender and how the characters I cosplay can reinforce that or allow me to explore it, and the confusion I’ve been feeling over my motivation. Recently when I see a character I want to cosplay I have to ask myself: “Do I actually want to wear this outfit, or do I just think it would be fun/challenging to make?” …I kind of wish I could post on social media asking “hey someone commission this outfit from me” and get a response, so I’d get to make it and not have to worry about actually wearing it afterwards haha.

I also need to bear in mind that whoever I make I’ll have to make well, and will probably need to rewear more than once if I continue going to cons in the next couple of years. As I aim my sights higher my plans need more time and money than ever, but I’m a first year uni student who needs to dedicate those resources to classwork first and foremost.

My current inclination is to wear John for an afternoon (after Honoka in the morning), and while I had set my heart on doing Salem for May, I’m genuinely considering switching back to Final Pam, or maybe even Qrow. Pam has a jacket that I could carry instead of wearing so I wouldn’t overheat, and Qrow’s clothes are normal enough that I could have extra layers underneath if I wore him in October as well. After considering the toll it takes on me to wear MTT at a con I’m thinking I might just try and patch up what I have for him now, and film a dance cover in my own time.

Let me know what you think of my predicament! Do you ever go through the same thing yourself?

Costume notes · love live · Valentines Honoka

Sugar Rush (Work log: Valentine’s Honoka #2)

Hello everyone! Today’s post picks up where last week’s left off – since this costume is (or was…) on a deadline, it was my main priority aside uni work after the weekend. Plans changed rather suddenly on Friday and now I don’t have to wear this outfit until April, but I think it worked out for the better, as I’ll explain later.

My main goal this week was making the skirt, which was more challenging than I expected. The original design in the card has a box pleat at the front and knife pleats in either direction at the side, and therefore needed an inverted box pleat at the back for the change of direction.

I was working with leftover fabric which put an arbitrary limit on the measurements, so I had to roll with it and force the pleats to fit. I sorted it eventually by using 1.5x the waist measurement and making the pleats end halfway instead of butting up – and it seemed to work!

I had to unpin them temporarily to make a faced hem, sandwiching the white lace in between the hem and skirt so it’d hang at the bottom. I also zigzag stitched on the two lines of gold ribbon, which stands out really nicely against the wine colour.

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When I redid the pleats after sewing, the skirt no longer wanted to fit, so I had to tweak the measurements again. This worked well enough, so I machined in the pleats and added a waistband and zip- but I hate the way it falls! The box pleat at the front will not sit flat because the fabric is so thick, so it doesn’t overlap with the knife pleats and they look huge. I feel like all the pleats are too wide really.

There are a few other faults in the skirt, such as the ribbon trim not quite meeting up and the lapped zip having a small pucker at the bottom. This is the main reason I’m thankful for the reschedule – I want to take it apart and redo it! I’m going to see if I can get some more of the same fabric, or maybe find some more in my stash (since I swear I had more than this), so I can extend the amount of fabric used in the pleats and line them up properly.

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I’ll redo the maths for the pleats and experiment with how to make the box pleat co-operate with me. . I’ll also take the chance to redo the zip (after practicing lapped zips some more, since they’re hit and miss for me), and I’ll probably reorganise the waistband and zip so they’re on the left side like normal.

While taking a break from the skirt, I also completed the seifuku bow, though I haven’t attached it yet. I don’t have any pictures of the process because I worked quickly and did it in one hit, but it’s easy enough to explain.

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First, I cut out a heart shape from some foam using a template I drew up (and promptly lost after using once, oops) and trimmed the edges so they slanted inwards just a tiny bit. Then I cut out two pieces of brown fabric – one big enough to wrap from the front to the back, and one just smaller than the actual heart.

I hot-glued the bigger piece onto the front, and snipped the edges into tabs so that I could fold the extra fabric to the back. Once that was done I glued the smaller piece to the back to hide the tabs – it gives a cleaner finish, even though the back is hidden for this particular one.

For the myu symbol I used the same ribbon as the skirt, cutting it into three lines and gluing it carefully into the right shape. The ribbon is too big to make the ‘s part, so I’ll try and embroider that on later. It might not work due to the hot gluing, but I wasn’t expecting to have the time to do any embroidery, haha.

I also added a ribbon border to the edge, to highlight the fact that it’s 3D. I’d hoped to catch the final edge in the V-dip at the top, to hide it, but I overshot it slightly and couldn’t fix it due to working with hot glue. It doesn’t look too bad, though! To complete the accessory, I glued the heart to the bow, after gathering the bow a little to make it dip properly in the middle.

I’ve decided not to attach it to the seifuku collar since the top needs to be washable, and the bow would get destroyed if it went through the machine. Sewing it down could also limit how much the base top stretches – I used a top I already owned, so it doesn’t have a zip or any poppers like proper seifuku, and I need the top to stay stretchy so I can actually wear it!

The next step was to paint the pattern onto the top itself, using cool red acrylic paint. I decided not to appliqué it because my machine is doing faulty zigzag stitches right now and can’t be trusted with satin stitch. Also, the small details needed painting on either way, so I wanted everything to match.

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I drew up a pattern for the central heart, which I traced onto the top with a dressmaker’s pencil, but I freehanded everything else. The bow in the middle isn’t quite even but I rolled with it by adding some small hearts in random clusters, to continue the asymmetry.

The smaller details – such as the “school idol festival” text and the leaves on around the side – are actually pretty patchy, but it’s not visible from far away, and this outfit is intended for video use only. I haven’t heat set the paint yet, but I’m going to leave it a while and see whether I want to add or change anything else before I do that.

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The last thing I did was sew the seifuku collar onto the top itself. It was a little tricky pinning it properly since things would be done in a different order for a proper seifuku, but I got there in the end. I stitched it by hand because I didn’t want to risk the machine pulling it out of line or sewing it to the wrong part of the neckline. Instead of sewing the entire collar down I left the front parts (that dip past the neckline) free, hemmed them, and stitched them together. They sit loose for now but when wearing the whole costume the bow will be pinned to the top, so the seifuku lapels will be caught in the pinning too.

That’s everything I got done this week, and there’s still a surprising amount to do! I have to make more hearts for the cardigan, make the armband and hair bow, and redo the Entire Skirt. Now I have all this extra time I’m probably going to make more hearts (I was planning on just two or three) and I’ll make the suspenders and stripes on the other arm.

I’m glad I have the chance to make this costume well instead of just bashing it together, since others in my group have bought their Valentine’s costumes and I’d like to be up to scratch! Hopefully it’ll still be in good enough shape that I can wear it next Valentine’s day too!


Thank you so much for reading, see you next week! Things are a little up in the air right now as to the topic, but I’m sure I’ll have something to share anyway.

QOTD: Have your cosplay plans ever abruptly changed on you? How do you deal with it?

love live · Valentines Honoka · Work log

A Sweet Surprise (Work log: Valentine’s Honoka #1)

Hello! I’m just about alive and well and I come bearing a work log for my next cosplay! After recent events I’d like to hope I’ve learnt my lesson, which should culminate in me not being a liar and actually updating my blog on time with any semblance of frequency.

If you’ve read my previous posts you might have noticed my dilemma over who to cosplay next. An odd mix of temporary burnout-or-something, too many options with no standout candidate, and the world of all things university had left me doubting whether I even wanted to continue making costumes for fun, or even cosplaying outside my idol group at all.

Recently, the choice was taken out of my hands by said idol group. Context for this is a little hard to explain, but conversations have led to me needing to get Honoka’s Valentine costume together, and fast! Luckily it wasn’t required for the actual day which is now behind us, but after this post is published I’ll have less than a week to get it done.

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I wouldn’t have agreed to do this if I didn’t have some supplies already, since it’s a bit of a push to make an entirely new outfit right now. I’d prefer my old ways of using found items too! Luckily I own the perfect pink cardigan, and I had lots of leftover wine-colour polycotton twill from Dave’s cape. Honoka’s skirt in this card is actually red, but I’m not going for perfect accuracy given my budget.

My first priority was getting my supplies together as fast as possible. I’m used to the craft store near home (I have no idea where the ones near halls are, really) so it was a lucky break that I visited home recently. For the seifuku collar I went basic as hell with a plain red polycotton – it’s super thin so it’ll need 2 or 3 layers to hold any semblance of shape and structure, but it’s cheap and the colour is solid. No craft store will ever have all the perfect trims, but I looked pretty thoroughly and I think I chose well – or as well as you can choose when you buy seventeen metres of ribbon, anyway.

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That amount of trim might not be much in terms of the most elaborate costumes, but the Valentine’s set seems so casual that it can be surprising when it all adds up to so much. I will admit I’m doing things the hard way this time and that pushed the mileage up a fair bit: I couldn’t find any red and white striped fabric, so I bought red ribbon and will be making some myself. The thing is, there are two bows with multiple red stripes (and one’s huge), so I wound up getting 5 metres.

I also nosed in our most reliable charity shop (that sounds so sarcastic but I promise you I owe my life to this place by now) for some suitable brown boots: knee high, cute, preferably buckled and not suede, with a heel low enough to survive. In the end I had to compromise on the buckles and not-suede-ness (I’d have liked to glue the wing accessories on, but I might not even have time to make any, so it’s fine), but the boots I picked were only £4! Bargain!

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After returning to halls I made a start on the seifuku collar. I began with a paper draft and then a calico mockup, which were both rather shoddy but helped me work out the angle – the collar on this card doesn’t visibly meet in the middle, so I flared the lapels even further out so they’d fall straight down when put over my shoulders.

Once the fabric was cut I moved straight onto assembly (I didn’t wash it before starting because I don’t think ahead like normal people, apparently. We’ll see what happens when this thing goes through the washing machine because that is definitely gonna happen). I pinned the brown trim between the two layers, facing inwards and caught within the seam allowance, trying the mitred corner technique I learnt recently on the back right angles.

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Once it was sewn up it became apparent that my nifty corners were a miserable failure, so I’ll be adding an extra flourish to both of them later on. Mitred corner tip: it takes more material than you expect! They’re kind of prone to pulling inwards and below, which destroys the shape a little. I opted to cut mine open again which has left me missing squares in both corners but a little richer information-wise.

For the sake of minimising seam bulk, I went with a slightly annoying layering setup – the polycotton does indeed need 3 layers, but the brown edge trim and white bias lines would have been awful with 3 layers of polycotton, so my lining layer is cut to the size of the inner bias tape line. That way it’ll be caught in place by the inner two stitch lines, but the edges of the collar won’t bulge out weirdly.

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Pinning and sewing the bias tape was an ordinary affair, aside that one wobble at the back bottom-left corner where it bobbed below straightness for some absurd reason. The mitred corners were much more successful this time around – I think it helps that it’s not stretch, while the brown ribbon is slightly elastic.

The last thing I achieved in the week was sewing the ribbons in stripes to create the chest bow. It’s just five lines of red ribbon in a near-rectangle on white, but to create the proper shape, I made sure the ends of the shape flared out and the middle dipped in – I’d previously made a mockup to test the sizing, so the flares and dip were confined to roughly a fifth of the length each.

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Early in the ribbon-sewing process

Up next I have to complete the bow and attach it to the seifuku, make the entire skirt, make the accessories (hearts, armband and hairbow), and paint or appliqué the heart motif onto the shirt itself. I’m very excited to see this come together as I think it’ll be a super cute outfit that could provide a good route back into enjoying making!

Next week: more sewing! And after that, the first idol rehearsal of 2018 – we have some great things in the works and I am so pumped. I still have to sit down and alter my cheerleader Honoka costume! Once that’s done I think I’ll do a writeup of my experience buying it, and the changes I had to make. See you soon!

QOTD: What’s your favourite holiday of the year?

Cosplay tips

Top tips: Tackling your plan list

There are thousands upon thousands of characters to choose from when it comes to your next cosplay, and sometimes the options can be overwhelming. You try noting down a few different outfits you’re interested in making and suddenly your list is four pages long! Whether you feel lukewarm or really passionate about all of them, it’s unlikely you can do them all, so you have to be smart in your decision making.

Below are just a few tips I try and follow when thinking about my cosplan list. I won’t lie, recently I’ve actually gone too far in my hesitation, and I’ve found myself with a very sparse list of ideas and no real dream cosplay at all. However, that’s my own problem, and if you’ve got too many options for who to make next then I hope these ideas might help.

If you’ve got the opposite problem (like me), and you can’t think of anyone to cosplay at all, all I can suggest is don’t force anything – you’re probably not being paid to do this, after all. You don’t need a new costume for every convention; it’s okay to rewear things, and it’s even okay to go in casual clothes if you need! I know it feels weird to consider this especially if you’ve been cosplaying for a fair while, but sometimes you just need a break.

If you don’t know who to cosplay but you really feel the urge to make, you can always see if your friends are willing to commission you, or at least cover materials + a little labour, or you could look into a different creative outlet altogether! Try making yourself some normal clothes to wear, start an embroidery or beading project, try a new skill you might not have tried – if you can – like jewellery making or painting… let yourself be creative in another way! It might do you some good and help you get through a block, or lead you to a new, related passion 🙂

So, how do you pick from a big pool of cosplay options?

  1. Give it time

How many times have you seen a new character and immediately thought to yourself, “I have to cosplay that!” and run off to make plans? More than a few, right? It’s fun to work out how you’d approach a costume, but it’s generally a bad move to get too invested in the idea. You might well go off the idea not long after, but then you feel bad for dropping something you already invested energy into.

In fact, it’s easy to invest more than energy: impulse buys are my arch nemesis, and they can be hard to resist. With a world of online shops right at our fingertips, it’s effortless to find anything you might want for that character. Resist the urge! It’s a lot harder to resell something than to never have bought it to begin with, so you should probably wait until you’re 99% certain you’ll follow through before you buy. (I know, things happen and plans change, so it’s pretty hard to avoid this one. It’s how fabric stashes are born.)
Honestly, if you ignore the first urge to cosplay, it’ll either fade away naturally or make itself known as a burning desire.

If the idea persists rather vaguely, consider making a separate list of “interesting designs” – characters you like the look of, or want to fantasise about constructing, but probably won’t actually see to completion. I’ve basically just thought of this now, and as someone currently studying costume design and making, I think it’d be a fascinating list to compile. It’ll either reveal design tropes that I find aesthetically pleasing or potentially challenging – or it’ll highlight the fact that I definitely have a type when it comes to anime girls…

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Me: HOLY HELL THAT’S CUTE I WANNA MAKE IT! Also me, a week later: But I don’t actually want to cosplay Mari…
  1. Check what you have

Cosplay is an expensive hobby. When you comb through your cosplan list, check the components against your current stuff – fabric stash, wigs, shoes, current wardrobe… Sometimes you spot something on the list that you could just about cobble together now, and there’s your answer.

If you have two costumes you’d like to make, and aren’t sure which to go with, make a quick list of prominent and expensive items (wigs, shoes, main fabrics, et cetera) and see which one you have more supplies for right now. If it’s heavily weighted towards one of them, then go with that, and if you can feasibly do both then it’s your lucky day!

If neither of them turn up many items then move onto a full cost list, even if money is no object (lucky) – it helps you keep an eye on what you’ll be spending, and you may well want to go with the cheaper one. This step takes a fair bit of research and planning as you’ll be thinking about construction methods and materials, but it’s worth it when you just can’t pick a character, and everyone benefits from budgeting well.

Generally, choosing cosplays based on reusing wigs is a good approach – wigs are a nightmare to store, so it’s great to get away with tweaking one for multiple characters instead of having every colour and cut under the sun stuffed in your room somewhere. It helps save money, too, which is especially useful in a hobby such as this one.

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The wig for this cosplay was originally bought for Anna from Frozen, and a fair amount of the fabric is from my old Ultimate Madoka cosplay
  1. What’s your motive?

Why are these cosplans on your list? Thinking about why you were attracted to a design can help you prioritise and whittle down your thoughts since you might not be as driven to do it as you thought you were. It can also help you prepare properly for the project as you work out where your attention will lie.

For example – if you want to make a complicated costume, because you think the details will get you attention (and deservedly so!), you might discover that you can’t find the energy to actually put a lot of work in because you’re not normally bothered about small intricacies. Once you’ve realised this, it’s up to you whether you knuckle down for all those hours – I won’t blame you if you’d rather pick something a little less intensive.

Or if you’re drawn to a character because they look cute or hot in their getup, think about whether you’d feel the same way, and if you’d be disappointed should it not turn out that way. Of course you shouldn’t let this put you off (unless it’s the sole reason you want to cosplay them, and even then to hell with it), but sometimes it’s good to acknowledge it so a feeling like that doesn’t take you by surprise.

For example – I’d felt pretty insecure about my hips on and off for a couple of years, and the added confusion of questioning my gender identity threw me out of whack quite a bit. When I played Undertale I realised Mettaton EX had fairly curvy hips in his sprites, and I decided to cosplay him – this wasn’t the only reason of course, but it helped me feel a bit more comfortable in myself seeing a trait of mine reflected in a (male) character I liked. Since then I’ve come to the conclusion that I am a cis girl, but it was very reassuring to have a character (and therefore costume) that helped me out at that time.
(I feel like I’ve told this story before, but it’s a good example of a reason beyond “I like their outfit” or “I would enjoy portraying this character”, which is the reason behind most of my other cosplays lol.)

  1. Try it out!

Sometimes, it does come down to how you look. Testing a character first can be quite hard to pull off, especially if you don’t have a wig or an outfit that resembles the character at all, but you can always try asking any cosplay friends to borrow their supplies for a hot minute. Depending on your finances you could also get a new wig for the character, and exchange or return it if you don’t like it. I’d encourage trying a wig above all because your face is likely to be a focal point of any costume.

Here’s another tip, though – don’t try a wig on by itself. Please, if you use heavy makeup for cosplay: save yourself the pain of agonising over not suiting your character, and try the wig with makeup that suits the character too. When I tried on my wigs for Lisia, Mirai, Honoka and Riko I felt like giving up because I hated how I looked in them and felt so disappointed. It didn’t last, though!

These days I love how I look as Lisia and Honoka because I’ve found my own makeup style for both of them, and it makes me feel like I’m doing the characters justice. I will admit that Mirai, however, is a lost cause – I used my real glasses for her and they make my eyes look way too uneven in pictures. The wig’s also a very strange shade next to my skin, and I just don’t think I’d like how I look wearing her even if I fixed these issues. I’ve also given up on cosplaying Riko, but that’s mostly for different reasons which I’ve put later in the post. I don’t exclusively look for characters I’d “suit”, but sometimes having a slight resemblance helps me feel more comfortable.

Small tangent: You might not like how you look in every single costume, and that’s okay! It’s up to you what you do once you realise it, but any choice is valid – you could keep hacking at the styling or makeup until you fix the issue, you could sell/return/swap the wig, you could muster the courage (and reassurance from friends) to persevere with the costume because you like it that much regardless of your view of your appearance… whatever you do to keep yourself happy is perfectly fine, so long as you aren’t putting yourself down, you know? Think positive!

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I didn’t feel confident in Honoka at first but now I love being her!
  1. Work to your goals!

Originally I was going to word this one “work to your abilities”, but that’s not what I was after! It’s no good to only look for makes and builds that will be more-or-less the same as your other stuff – you’d stagnate as a crafter! If you want to develop your skills, you should look for something beyond your current ability every time, after reflecting properly on your previous make.

However, not everyone wants to push themselves all the time, which is why I’ve opted to say “your goals” instead. Do you want to be cute? Find the frilliest outfit you’ve got listed and go to town! Do you want to build on certain skills, or try new techniques? Look for a cosplay which will target your weakest areas. How about a comfy, casual cosplay for when you want to feel relaxed (or keep your budget low)? Keep an eye out for characters with everyday clothes that can be easily bought and/or modified.

Basically, it boils down to thinking about why you cosplay, or how you’d like to feel in cosplay right now. Once you’ve worked out what your current situation is, you can pick the cosplay that fits it best! It’s almost certain that your reasons for wanting to cosplay a character will be different every time, and matching that to what will make you feel happy right now is a pretty good way to help yourself have an even better time in costume.

This is actually why I had such a hard time choosing between Angel Riko and Angel You – I had a goal in mind, but the obvious conclusion was interfering with how I felt about my appearance and personality. I want to start competing, which means I need to look for more ambitious cosplays: Angel Riko seemed like a perfect fit because to me she’s got the prettiest and most complex outfit of the whole Angel set. However, I tried a wig for Riko and I didn’t like the outcome, and I much prefer You to Riko as a character. In the end I decided that feeling comfortable in character and cosplay was more important than the difference in technical challenge, so the next cosplay on my to-do list is Angel You!

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Isn’t she cute!
  1. Acknowledge your skills

This is kind of a sad point since it brings you back down to Earth instead of fantasising about an amazing result. I’m struggling to word this one because it’s so important to try things you think you can’t do, but at the same time, if you want good results you might have to avoid biting off more than you can chew.

I think these are some important things to consider for a new make:

  • Do I have the time to make this, or will it be rushed (and will I mind)?
  • Do I have the skills to make this, and if not, am I willing to try it out?
  • Is this thing possible in real life? Am I happy to find out?
  • Will I be disappointed if this fails, or proud of myself for trying?

That last one especially is something I ran into while making Lisia. I’m proud of myself for trying something like that, but at the same time, it was a lot of new methods that I had no idea how to approach, and the end result isn’t as lively as I’d like. It doesn’t help that the costume is such a pain to wear haha!

It’s also quite weird thinking about this costume a couple of years on, since I know I had a hard time making it originally… but now it looks like it didn’t take much effort, and that confuses me. This is sort of an ongoing mindset-related problem though, and I’m hoping that with my plans for Angel You, I can put in a decent effort, and get a pleasing result.

Remember – people sell costumes online, too. If you love a character that much, but you don’t think you can tackle their outfit right now or ever, there’s no shame in buying it!

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No way in hell was I going to make Honoka’s candymaid outfit! You need such specific fabrics for it that it would be better value to buy it, if Criss hadn’t lent it to me.

Bonus: What month are you going to wear that?

Ask yourself this: am I likely to freeze or overheat if I wear this costume once it’s done? If the answer is yes, you have two options – make it now, and shelve it for a more suitable month, or just make it later. The second option is more likely if a con is fairly imminent, but whichever one you pick… Don’t be like me. Strapless tops and short skirts aren’t good in late autumn. You will freeze.

Yes, I wore Kuranosuke in October. Yes, I regretted every minute of it.


There you have my best advice at the moment! Was any of it helpful? I will be honest, I’ve recently been bouncing between too many ideas and absolutely no enthusiasm or time, so I can’t really evaluate this post properly. I thought I’d sorted my attitude issues about cosplay, but I guess not. That’s on me to sort through privately though, not in this closing paragraph! As always, thank you for reading!

QOTD: Would you rather weekly posts, or only worthwhile posts when I actually have things to share? I’m really scraping the bottom of the barrel in terms of content and I don’t know what to do… See you next week, maybe?!

Costume notes · God tier · homestuck

Costume notes: God Squad

Ah, Christmas – a time for relaxing, sharing the festive spirit with those you love… and sewing for two entire weeks because you decided it was a good idea to make not one but three and a half costumes on a tight deadline. Hooray!

As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, I’ve been on quite the Homestuck kick lately, and managed to convince my best friends to cosplay the god tier beta kids with me for the first time in a good few years. There was one condition though: due to low funds and a lack of time (we’re students), I had to make all of our outfits.

Somehow, I succeeded! I was working until 9:15 am on the day of the shoot (which I left for at 10) and spent a solid 11 hours on the sewing machine the day before, but I got everything done. I only took a single progress picture, but I wanted to share my general methods and thoughts for each costume anyway. (This post turned out way longer than I was expecting, so be warned!)



John (me)

Since I cosplayed John back in April, I already had most of my costume complete and as a result it wasn’t a priority. I still had to fix up my hood though, as there was a six inch hole starting at the base of the neck for some reason, and I took the plunge to make myself a pair of more accurate trousers too. I’d never made a pair before and since they were the last thing I sewed on the machine, they were quite a speedy job!

I used a loose-fitting pair of jogging bottoms for the pattern, and chose a jersey fabric (or something very similar at least) so that I had room for error. I didn’t take many measurements, nor did I suss how to accommodate the fact that butts exist, so I wound up adding two pleats in the front and forcing the waistband to sit higher at the back (by cutting it wider). Starting off with such an easy pair might well have lulled me into a false sense of security but the fact that they look pretty good has left me excited to try a proper pair in the future!

If I was planning to cosplay John with any regularity, I’d consider investing in a new wig and new shoes – the wig I have right now is five years old and of rather poor quality, and my shoes are branded trainers instead of plain pumps. As things are though, I only tend to drag the cosplay out for 413 or nonsense with friends, so it’s fine as is.



Jade (urplemurple42)

I’m pretty happy with the outcome of Jade’s costume, mostly because I find it pleasing to look at! I had to swap her canon colours around because I was using fabrics I already had, and didn’t have enough grey to make both hood and skirt with it. In fact, that grey fabric came from a skirt I’d deconstructed for Godoka a few years prior, and I had black velvet coming out of my ears, so it was a natural choice to switch to a black hood and skirt instead.

Starting at the top – Jade’s hood is a truly weird shape! I’ve seen other cosplayers call it a “two tailed monstrosity” and I wholeheartedly agree. I had no idea how to approach the pattern myself so I used this tutorial from cosplayquestions on tumblr, but I ignored the part about the ear tabs and just cut holes. I can’t offer any original advice aside please, please make a mockup first, because it’s so easy to misunderstand which measurement goes where!

I lined the collar with a generic off-black fabric of some description – slightly shiny, non-stretch, not cotton – and also used it to add an inch to the hood opening, which I then tacked under to form a hem instead of fighting the velvet itself. I’m not sure why but the two fabrics didn’t want to get on at all, and if the result didn’t look pretty good I would have given up altogether. Things got a little better when I flipped the entire thing over to change which fabric was being pulled by the feed dogs, so I’ll remember to experiment with my setup next time I use two different fabrics.

The top was a pretty easy make because Charis and I are very similar sizes, so I just traced a low-stretch top of my own and drew the points. The flared sleeves weren’t too hard either, as it was just a question of adding width and a curve at the wrist – though something went wrong due to my high-speed patterning, so we wound up with some puffy shoulders where there shouldn’t have been any, haha.

The space symbol on said top wasn’t such an easy feat, however! Homestuck’s aspect symbols are on a sliding scale of “pretty easy to appliqué” (starting with Time) to “things that you really shouldn’t be sewing and should probably paint” (with Hope rounding off the list of aspects-I-never-want-to-touch). Space is… much closer to Hope’s end of the scale.

Since my own symbol was felt I thought it’d be coherent if the others were too, but white felt is so extraordinarily flimsy compared to the other colours that I wound up using fusible hemming to attach regular cotton to the underside. This made it a lot stronger and easier to pin. I had originally intended to blanket stitch all the symbols as it keeps them flexible, but the time it would have taken and the finicky design just left me balking, and I opted to use fabric glue instead. Light (Rose’s aspect) was glued as well, because I did not want to stitch on twelve tiny triangles and four wavy lines.

The skirt was far more annoying than it originally seemed. Since the fabric was just a deconstructed skirt – I still had the waistband and zip – it should have been easy to put it back together and take the top in for extra flair. In actual fact I had to create a new waistband for the right fit, and I had to remove at least 12 inches of fabric from the top of the skirt to make it knee length. Unfortunately I forgot to account for the fact that the skirt was originally cut on the bias and as such so was the new waistband, which meant it stretched during sewing and had to be safety pinned to fit during the shoot itself. Damn. But I shouldn’t do that one again, so lesson learnt.

Charis already had most of Jade’s accessories (wig, glasses, tights and shoes) from her original god tier Jade, but I had to make a new pair of ears. I used the generic shape that litters the search results for “fur ear pattern”, and made the inside felt with the outside as short pile white fur. The clips I glued to the bottom worked fine, but they didn’t let the ears rest against the head, so the end result was pretty floppy. In hindsight I’d either relocate the clips or include a wire or foam layer to give extra support.



Dave (lowtuff)

Most of Dave’s outfit was refreshingly easy to put together. Find a pair of browny-red trousers (“burgundy” according to the listing, but they weren’t), a bright red undershirt and a deep red t-shirt, blanket stitch your traced Time symbol to the chest of aforementioned t-shirt, and hey presto! You’re already 90% of the way to being a Knight of Time.

The other 10% – that is, the cape – was significantly more annoying than it had any right to be. (I’ve discounted the wig, shades and shoes since they were already covered from our previous adventures). You’d think it’d be easy to find a heavy brown fabric suitable for making a knee-length cape, right? Think again!

In the end it took three layers of fabric to get the right thickness and colour – wine coloured polycotton twill in the middle for its heaviness and drape, and a layer of some kind of thin brown fabric either side to give it the right appearance. No clue what it was, but it did the job! I wasn’t stringent enough cutting out the pattern pieces so there’s a spot on the neck where the top layer just… stops well before the actual seam, and the wine layer shows through – it’s not too easy to see from the front though, and I was in a bit of a rush. How many times do I have to write the words “TIME MANAGEMENT” across my own forehead before it sticks?! 😛

The pattern itself wasn’t too hard, but I made a couple of mistakes during drafting that really didn’t help. I misjudged the hood size – I don’t know how, because I tried everything out and it should have worked – badly enough that I had to add a 3 inch strip between the hood and the rest of the cape. It also took a lot of tweaking with measurements to get all the neck pieces to line up. I finally got the neck business down with this hood though – it was the last of the four hoods that I made, so it’s about time haha!



Rose (kibitalia)

I’m so pleased with how Rose came out! Even if she wasn’t perfect, she was the most challenging of the four, so I’m okay with that. I did also have an ironing mishap or two during this costume – don’t underestimate how fast an iron can heat up. If you turn it too high for a second by accident, then put it back down so it won’t melt your synthetic fabric and carry on a few minutes later… it will melt your synthetic fabric.

Following my own advice I made a mockup for Rose’s hood, because of its super weird tail. The calico draft worked perfectly, fitted together and had plenty of room for the neck hole and between the face and shoulders. The final product shouldn’t have gone wrong and I don’t understand why it did! It’s all well and good saying you learn from your mistakes when you get why you made them! I’m not likely to make another Seer hood either, so there’s no chance of working backwards from a successful make to see what happened.

The hood I actually made was far too small for anyone’s head to get through – I struggled to understand any measurements once the thing was 3D, but anywhere between one and four inches just… disappeared. Where did they go? Seam allowance eating them? Botched fabric cutting? Misunderstanding where the neck hole actually started? We shall never know. In the end I just cut it open at the front, hemmed both edges (like all my collars, it’s double layered, so the shape held) and safety pinned it shut on the day. I can’t be too mad though – the resulting snug fit does actually look pretty smart! Silver linings…

Rose’s dress was stressing me out for quite a while before I actually attempted it. I originally planned to just take Kym’s measurements and draft a pattern with them by myself. This did not work. I don’t know enough about pattern drafting to do something like that yet! I think I should work with some proper patterns first… My second plan was to grab a base dress with darts that I could cut apart and modify, but with the deadline close and the charity shops turning up empty, we had to try something else.
In the end, the method that worked was draping the dress on Kym herself – or, cutting on the stand when the stand is a person that you can’t stick pins in! I felt a lot more confident working this way, especially since I did an introduction to cutting on the stand very recently in class. It was also a fun, if strange, experience, and a good chance to catch up with her!

I didn’t take any photos of the process or result due to the speed at which we did things; I wish I had done, since the pattern looked fairly wacky due to significant bust and waist darts and the unusual tunic look! It got a lot messier not long after, too – the darts were off centre so I had to reposition them, and typing this up now I do wonder if that’s why the dress wandered off centre so often during the shoot. Bodies aren’t usually symmetrical, after all. I haven’t done enough of this stuff to work out what’s just a body being a body, versus what’s an actual mistake.

Like Dave’s hood, choosing fabric for this dress was a nightmare, since we were working within a budget and had a small range available. Finally, I decided that I like my friends more than I like having a will to live, so I chose a bright orange polycotton and a yellow organza, with the end goal of layering them. I doubled the workload of the dress in the process, but the end result was a great colour and had the fun side effect of becoming two-tone!

I am very distrustful of organza, so I chose to mount all the pieces first, to prevent slippage or random pleating while making the final thing. It shouldn’t be hard to sew six bits of netting to six bits of fake cotton, surely.
It is.
Or rather (to be more precise and less melodramatic) the task becomes a lot harder when two of the pieces are almost five feet long, and one of those is cut so crooked it’s unsalvageable and you have to slice it in half, reattach it, and then add an extra piece to the bottom to cover the inches you lost fixing the diagonal. Yay me! Sloppy cutting strikes again! Except this time I am absolutely certain it’s just organza being its slippery-ass self, so next time I will use even more pins. One day, I will pin it into submission.

Once the nightmare preparation was over the rest of the make wasn’t too bad though! Except for the part where the armholes were too big so the dress sat too low, that wasn’t so good. It’s an easy fix though, you just have to sew the shoulder seam again further in, and pray that the pleating god has mercy on you with the new fold in your sleeve.

Like I did for Jade, I used fabric glue to attach the aspect symbol to the dress. I mean – twelve triangles, four wavy lines, a circle, and two scroll shapes at the hip, all sewn by hand starting at 11pm the night before the shoot? You can miss me with that one, thanks!
There was concrete evidence that my desire to sew them was rational, as a couple of the pieces started to pry loose over the day, but the other rational side of me says that it won’t be hard to just glue them back down. I don’t always need to make extra work for myself, especially if something’s only going to be worn a few times in a casual setting.

The last things to sort were the leggings and shoes. Charis saved the day on the leg front by dyeing a white pair for us (have you ever tried finding neon orange clothing in the depths of winter?), leaving us free to roam the shops for a pair of sky blue flats. Sadly, like the orange leggings, blue is a summer colour and flats are a summer item: the shoes we needed were nowhere to be found. We settled for a shiny turquoise pair from Primark – slightly too small, but Kym managed to stretch them somehow. Mission accomplished.

(You can also see yellow ribbons and a yellow hairband on Rose in the pictures – those were both sorted by Kym! The waist ribbons look like they’re floating in a lot of photos thanks to my editing: the leggings don’t actually go all the way to the top of the dress slit, so I kind of stamped away the skin gap in PS Elements, at Kym’s request. The ribbons hide some of the gap as they were tucked almost above the waistband – adorable and functional! The hairband is from canon, though ours was a quick fix using two hairgrips and more of that yellow ribbon. It worked surprisingly well and I think it’s cute!)


 

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We stuffed a sock in Rose’s hood to make it hold its weird shape, it worked a bit too well

Dang, I think that’s everything! And it’s a lot, actually, especially with doing Christmas Honoka in December too. After counting up my costumes for the year, I did almost as much in those two weeks of break as I did in the rest of the year!

Honestly, I’m thrilled to pieces with how this project came out. I really feel like we’ve done these characters justice, but I feel kind of bad saying that since I was responsible for most of the costumes… Seriously though, my friends fit these characters so well, and I’m chuffed that they’d trust me enough to make their costumes on their behalf. I love the beta kids and I love my pals, so I had a whale of a time on the shoot day itself too. I’m tempted to ask if we all want to do it again at 413, but it seems like we took enough photos to last a lifetime!

I learnt a fair amount during this project – including how to draft and sew really weirdly shaped hoods, at long last – and I doubt I’ll be doing something this labour intensive for a while. At least, I hope not! You never know, with how uni can be and all.

Thank you so much for reading this big ole post! I have no clue at all about next week’s one – week two and going strong, am I right – because I head back to halls… a few hours ago? I wrote this post on Friday and scheduled it haha. Anyway, we’ll see how things roll, and I’ll see you next week!

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