The Making of A Fighter (School Look)

So much for two blog posts a week, huh? Well in my defense I HAVE been productive these last few weeks – i’ve also been stressed and worried like crazy about getting things finished on time. Overall it hasn’t been too much fun. But at least I have something to show for my efforts, and I would like to share it with you guys.

This costume is a female Fighter from Granado Espada.  Wearing the Ivory School Look. 


I saw this design ages ago and fell in love. Sometime last month I decided  I wanted to create for Otakon and began work immediately. But things went very poorly and I lost all confidence in the costume…it wasn’t until last week that I felt a burst of energy and resumed work on it. Getting it from 30% to 95% in five days.

This is easily the most complicated project I have ever done – it wasn’t difficult, but it was very tedious and more challenging then I had expected.

Overall it was really messy to make and I didn’t take very many photos. Because of that this post will be quite vague and far less detailed then my past “the making of” projects, sorry!

I started out with a sketch. Since this costume has a lot of pieces (skirt, undershirt, collar, tie, vest, corset, and socks) that layer atop each other, I had to do quite a bit of planning out. 


I decided to start by drafting the undershirt, since it was the lowest layer. I wanted it to be super loose and gathered, like a tunic. This way it could be pullover without any sort of closure and super comfy. I draped it on my dressform, then added several inches to each piece so it would be loose.



Then  I turned that into a mock up, which didn’t go too well,. I don’t have photos of it, but it was pretty awful.

The second attempt looked MUCH better!


The real one was made from satin with an overlay of off-white chiffon. The neckline was made from a lovely light gold stretch knit, which was lined with non-stretch satin so it would hold the shape.


The sleeve covers are made from suede.


Each one is decorated with 1 and 2 mm gold leather cording. This stuff was a huge pain to sew on but I really love it!


Each sleeve is stuffed with cotton fluff. Attached to the neckline I have six little tabs, each one is edged in 1mm cord and shaded with ink to give them more depth.


And that was that! Later on it got hemmed and I added a ruffle, but nothing too exciting.

Moving onto the fake fronted corset.

I took my measurements and flat drafted this the same way I did my RMT corset.


I thought a lot about closures – originally I wanted lacing, then  I though a zipper would work better. I ended up going with snaps, but for my mockup I used a zipper.

I made it out of fish fabric because of reasons…


It fit perfectly so I turned it into a pattern and cut it from heavy, fake suede. The front and back panels all have golden detailing on them, which I wasn’t sure how to recreate. I thought about embroidery, but my skills in that area are quite tragic – so I decided to paint them on.

I used a marker to sketch out the design, then I went over it with tacky glue, and lastly several layers of gold paint.



They really lacked depth, so I went in with copic markers to create shadows and such.


Then it was assembled…


Still needs some work, but that will come later, it’s time to talk about the skirt.

The skirt was probably the most challenging part of all. It has so many pieces and they all had to be sized and laid out just right. It was very tricky to get right!

I made a mock up and drew on the designs.


Then I transferred that onto proper paper and added room for seams, the hem, and stuff like that.


The skirt required six pleated bits, which were all made from the two way stretch knit. Not the easiest fabric to pleat properly!


everything else was made from heavyweight fake suede.


I went ahead and tried on what I had made so far, and it looked like this:


The skirt was very short and didn’t stay up right. Luckily I fixed both of these things quite easily, the skirt got a waistband (which closes with snaps – but is pinned in these photos), and an underskirt which added 2 inches of length.


Then I resumed work on my corset. I ended up sewing down the laces, which seemed really silly but looked good.


I sewed up one side of the front and adding 14 snaps to the other side, which keeps it closed.

With that finished (or just about) I  moved onto the vest. I draped this on my dress form and it looked very silly.


Luckily it looked a lot less silly once made from proper materials!


And put all together, just missing trim, buttons, and topstitching.


Once worn all together it looked like so!


Sadly I do not have photos detailing the making of the collar and socks, but those were pretty simple. 

I also added buttons, and then it was done!


Full body photos will be posted soon. Thanks for reading!

The Making of a Sakizo Inspired Historical Gown [Part 2]



jeff potoSo, two things about this costume, the first being that the titles have changed! I originally thought it this some French inspired design, but peoples insisted upon Italian Renaissance, and then others were saying it looks Russian so now i’m not even sure. I give up on attempting to label this dress.

The second thing is that this dress is technically unfinished. It isn’t accurate to the artwork I based it off of at all, but I like how it looks now and there isn’t much I want to change. Some might view this as lazyness…but honestly i’m just pleased with it. I feel like adding more stuff will take away from it and I don’t want that. So I suppose this is a Sakizo illustration INSPIRED design instead of an actual cosplay of her work.

Check out the previous the-making-of post relating to this costume!

[Part 1]

With that said….Moving on. 

Sleeves! These were by far the most difficult and time consuming part of this costume. The sleeves are made up of five main pieces, two small ones that lay over the shoulder, two puffy sleeve portions, and the elbow-to-wrist piece.

I put on the bodice and measured over my shoulder to find the length the top two sleeve pieces needed to be.  Then a drafted out how I thought they might look and hoped for the best. I made a mock up and altered it a little bit, but for the most part it was good!


The top most piece is actually a base that piped strips get sewn onto. It looked like this when cut out.


I cut out 2.75″ strips of my red sateen and folded over 1/2″ on each side giving me a 1.75 inch strip. Then I sewed piping onto each side. This part killed me since I actually had to use pins (so many), which I try to avoid as much as possible.


Each strip was cut to the proper size, and eventually, sewn into place by stitching across each end.


I machine stitched lace onto one side. The other side was folded over and hand sewn down, so no stitching actually shows.


The second piece was much easier to deal with, as it was quite simple. It’s made from interfaced silk with an overlay of the same gold lace I used on the skirt. It was hand sewed to the other pieces lining so once again, no stitching is visible.



Piece three and four were the most challenging, and took many frustrating hours to create. The actual pattern for these is a very simple one, and was drafted quite quickly and easily. I once again kind of lucked out on the pattern I drafted, I had to make it a little smaller, but for the most part I was happy with it.

Each sleeve was cut from red sateen and has two darts added to remove a bit of volume. Lines were marked out  four inches from eachother to create seven even rows. A gold x ivory twisted cording was hand sewn over each line.


Then it came time to add poofs! Puffed trim, although quite simple in theory is one of my least favorite things to make. Here is a tutorial sheet describing how they can be made.


For the sleeve puffs I used seven inch wide strips of silk that were double iron-folded on each side, creating a five inch wide strip with finished edges.

Then I hand gathered the strip every four inches to create very circular puffs. It took a lot, and I mean A LOT of testing to get a size that looked okay, but in the end I’m pretty pleased with it.


The puffs get pinned in place



And then sewn down. Once they are sewn into place I lightly press my iron over them, this way they stay more orderly.


Each side of these were gathered with the zig zag method, and eventually stuffed with “doughnuts” made of quilt batting. They are like pillows which is kind of awesome.

The final, and easiest piece of the sleeve was patterned via draping. I took a piece of muslin and laid it over my arm, then pinned it until it was tight.


Super pro patterning method right there.


I cut that out of my red sateen and added cute little organza ruffles, trim, and piping to the point that lays over my hand. I also hand sewed a six inch zipper into the wrist so it fits tightly.

This is how one of the sleeves looked all sewn together



The bodice of my dress finally got fancied up, I added three mm rhinestones down the center of each red stripe and sewed on a pretty organza ruffle.


Then I created MORE puffed trim and sewed that on, with pearl trim covering the gathers. I also created a properly sized flower trim, made of fake flowers that I cut apart and re-glued together. Flat backed pearls were glued down in the centers, and between the petals to make it look fancy.


And how they looked sewn together.


Once the bodice was finished I created a “roll” to go beneath it. This was made the same way as tier one of the sleeves. Strips of sateen with folded edges and piping machine stitched on each side.


After each edge was secured, the 30″ strip was stuffed with a bit of quilt batting encased in sateen to make it poof out.

This was then sewn onto the skirt.


Meanwhile, the skirt got a bit of fancy lace and cording sewn onto each front most red section. Both of these were hand sewed into place.  In addition to holding the trim on, the same stitches also secure the ivory portion of the skirt to the red ones.

The gorgeous lace was purchased here and the cording from here.


The bodice was hand sewn on to roll/skirt, since there was so much boning I couldn’t do it by machine without breaking needles every two seconds. (trust me, I tried)

Eventually the sleeves were hand sewn onto the dress too. So much hand sewing.

.I also added a heavy duty zipper to serve as closure (not the one seen above, one that actually matched).  I had to hand baste it in place, then sew it down, which was kind of hellish but worked wonderfully.


Once that was done I made the headdress super quickly. It has a structure of plastic boning, which was covered in quilt batting and a layer of red sateen.



Then tiny puffed trim was made and sewn onto the front. And 8mm pearsl were sewn into the center of each poof.


I also sewed on two organza ruffles, because ruffles are awesome. The gold trim was made from lace, which I cut apart and spray painted gold. Each circle of lace was threaded onto a piece of wire and glued from behind. The pearls are fake, flat backed, and glued down.


And finished!


I had several photoshoots with this costume, and the previews look amazing, but none of the actual photos have been posted. So here is a hall shot from yesterday to give you an idea of how it looked all finished. I seriously cannot wait to see photos of this from my shoots.


Thanks for reading! I’ll have the final post on Royal Milk Tea up soon.