Sunday, November 3, 2013

Finishing touches

After the qualifiers to ECC it was clear to me that I would definitely compete with Amira at the finals. But I also knew that I needed to upgrade the costume. I myself had found few flaws on it and after discussing with the judges, I knew what I should place under the magnifying glass.

Photograph: Yoki/ Casualty Cosplay

First thing I wanted to fix was the jewelry. I had little experience with Fimo and other polymer clays prior to Amira, so I naturally chose the wrong paints. Now I know that you shouldn’t choose paints with solvents in them, because they will soften the clay and make it feel tacky and it will never really dry out. This creates the problem at least for me, since all the nice metallic finish paints have some sort of solvent in them. I tried to look for chrome acrylic paints and then just metal acrylics, but nothing fitted my image of the final color.

Thankfully I went to an art store and after discussing with the seller, I ended up trying out something she proposed; I first paint the jewelry with gesso, then acrylic paint with metal powder in it. The gesso and the acrylic paint created a protective cocoon for the clay. And finally I applied metal miniature paint by brushing it very gently to the surface. The seller had advised me to use as little pressure as possible so that the strong miniature paint would not break through the acrylic paint. And it worked!

Also to add some more “real” to the jewelry, I asked my Russian friends for small change coins, Kopecks to use on the amulet and the necklace. Earlier, I had made the coins from Fimo, but I really wanted them to jingle when I move. Using real coins made the jewelry heavier, but this only meant that I had to use stronger thread on them.

Next thing I started was the boots. The first ones were made of pleather and they didn’t have a base shoe inside, which is equivalent to poorly supported feet. I still had the old shoes on at Tracon and after a day walking around in them, I really wanted to make new ones.

I had my doubts with pleather earlier, but I was running out of time before the qualifiers so I had little choice left. I chose pleather since the color scheme was close to the references and it was rather easy to work on. For the new boots I chose wool as the main material. It felt a lot more authentic and would enable same type of appliqué technique as pleather.

I found the perfect shade of jacket wool for the dark, mud colored parts. With the light blue sections I had to cheat a bit and use polyester-viscose felt, which I dyed the same way people dye their wigs. I was hesitant that regular cloth dye would not work, even if the felt was a viscose mix. We happened to hace this perfect colored tube of marker fluid lying around, which was meant to use years back to dye Clef’s wig with. The cosplay never happened, but now at least the dye served its purpose.

For the base shoe I chose a regular women’s walking shoe. I cut out the tip of the shoe and made new one from felt to make it more flat and also to give the sole a small curve. Then I took a carpet knife and started to slice to the heel to more “boot like”. The heel of the shoe was really distinctively shaped for a walking shoe, as it spread out on the bottom and was over all really bulky looking. It was also too high compared to the reference. The easy solution was to attach the boot cover so that about two centimeters of the heel was left visible and three centimeters were hidden inside as a build-on hidden heel.

I made few alterations to the boots based on the old design. For example I patterned the tip of the shoe differently and made few tweaks on the design also. I have made boot covers earlier and the problem was always how to finish the edges. I finally seemed to solve it!

After the edges of the cover were turned and glued over to the bottom of the sole, I took a piece of real leather and cut it to fit. At this point I cleaned the sole from dirt and dust, spread glue evenly and pressed the piece of leather on place. This neatens the raw edges of the boot cover, hides the modern looking pattern on the sole and is also good materials choice to use since it’s not slippery and will also look good!

I also worked on the skirt a bit to make it bit more finalized. I dug up every piece of linen I had left from the skirt and made bias tape from it. I used the bias to hide the stitch marks inside the hem of the skirt. This was really small deed to make during few evenings in front og the TV, yet it impressed few lovely people on backstage; “You even made bias!” And I was smiling stupidly and squeaking, because I was so happy that someone noticed it! Thank you for that!

Next to working with already existing pieces of clothing, I made something completely new also! I had made the underwear for the qualifiers, but if you have read the manga you painfully know that something is missing… The socks! I was ahead of the schedule at one point, so I decided to try to make them. I kind of knew that I was crazy to even start them, but then again I was so madly in love with the gossamer silk jersey I had purchased and the red and white silk threads and… Yes, it was madness!

I actually had the socks on to-do list for the qualifiers. I’m actually glad that I didn’t make them back then, since I only found the perfect material after the competition. I also think that embroidery is now lot easier for me and that if something was required for that type of fine fabric. It took me about two to three evenings to make the embroidery and few hours to put the socks together and I truly think that they are really nice touch to the costume! I could walk around in them forever, because the material is just so freaking pleasant!

This particular costume is now more or less finished. I'm still hoping that I can get a location shoot organized sometime in the future, because I would really like some sheeps to go with the costume! But for now, after a year, I can direct my attention towards new costumes which naturally have piled up now. I will surely use the costume in concentions to come, because and due to the working hours and crafting it's really comfortable and easy to wear and it's my favorite costume I've ever made... And needless to say, I love the character!


  1. Awesome finishing touches! I love how you polished the costume even further, such work and devotion deserves to be awarded! Congratulations on winning a prize, yet again! <3

    Good that you mentiones about a location photoshoot, because I was just thinking that it would be nice to photoshoot in a decent location with you again. :3 I think we could try out something in spring or summer with AG because the weather right now is just god awful. If you have any locations in mind, let us know!

    1. Thank you so much! And location shoot with you guys would be more than I could ever hope for! I'll be in touch, since I actually have one particular place in mind with fields and sheeps. :)