The Making of a RCMP (inspired!) Uniform

Let me just explain….

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A few months ago the TV show Project Runway had this challenge where you had to make an outfit that represented a country and was inspired by that countries flag. Partway through the episode I asked my mother, “What would you make if you got Canada?” and she said “I would make a RCMP uniform.”

Of course this completely goes against what the judges would have wanted, since they look for originality, but I found the idea interesting.

Two of my favorite things are uniforms and dramatic color combinations and the Mountie uniforms have both. I thought it might be an interesting challenge / practice piece for me to sew.

I was talking to someone online the next day about cosplay ideas and they said I should cosplay Canadian pride. I asked what that would look like and they said a maple leaf or maybe a Mountie. I said I didn’t think I could pull off a Mountie costume and they said, “Oh no, Angela, you would be the most kawaii Mountie”

(‘kawaii’ means cute)

It was really late at night when this conversation happened, so it sounded brilliant at the time and I announced to the world of facebook that I was going to make a Mountie costume. When I woke up the next day I knew it was something I had to do.

(and now I feel it is my duty to be the most kawaii mountie I can be)

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Now, If you don’t know what a Mountie is, or haven’t heard of the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) you can learn more here.

Even if you haven’t heard the name before, i’m sure you have (at the very least) seen pictures of them.

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Making an accurate uniform seemed a bit daunting to me. It also seemed a bit boring and might hinder my ability to live up to the kawaii-mountie title.

Designing a heavily inspired uniform seemed like a better option.

When I decided on that I knew right away there would be one major difference: I wanted to wear shorts instead of jodhpurs. They are a very unflattering pant style. I’m not interested in wearing them and i’m definitely not interested in making them.

I also decided to make this costume an educational tailoring experience by aiming for an exaggerated hourglass shape.

so after a bit of doodling, I came up with this!

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And the pattern pages to go with it. I don’t always make pattern pages, but they really do help. It gives me an idea of what each piece will look like which helps me visualize when it comes time to draft things. It can also help me estimate how much fabric I will need!

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It was a very easy pattern to draft, which surprised me. The front has princess seams and the back has darts. The lower frontmost panel is reinforced with interfacing and the side panels are made up of six 3/4″ knife pleats. The sleeves have an inverted box pleat on the top which aligns with the shoulder seam.

This is what my mock up looked like.

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And how my pattern ended up looking!

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I made the jacket from a bright red wool suiting which is the easiest material I have ever worked with. I don’t think you could get this fabric to pucker or wrinkle no matter how hard you tried. It sews and irons like a champ.

Construction went along quite quickly and smoothly!

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The first speed bump I hit involved the pockets which were stupidly difficult to get placed and size properly.


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I think the first pocket took me an hour to do – luckily they got progressively easier. I also did a bit of tailoring, nothing super fancy but I pulled it in at the waist.

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Around this time I stepped back from this project and started working a lot more on Royal Milk Tea. When I came back to this I decided to work on the shorts. I had never made shorts before so I was a bit nervous.

I decided to make them elasticized so fit wouldn’t be a major issue. I ended up studying and measuring pair of gym shorts before copying the pieces down onto paper. I added 7+” on each side and several inches in length to account for the “poof” and my pattern ended up looking like so!

(the marks on these are inaccurate, I dunno what I was thinking – ignore those)

shorts

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There really wasn’t much to these. They took of an hour to make.

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Easily the cutest mockup I have ever made, look at those!

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I was happy enough with the mockup to work on the real thing. I used a very dark blue (almost black) silk blend suiting which was lovely to work with and so soft. I used two inch wide elastic on the top and 1/2 elastic on the bottoms. I added cuffs, too which are 2 1/2 inches wide.

The gold is spandex.

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Paired with the jacket.

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My Christmas gifts to myself involved a hat, boots, and a belt, which really made a difference!

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And finally I got off my lazy butt and added the two remaining pockets.

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My wig also arrived! I went for something naturalish that matches the boots, hat, belt, etc.

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Now it still isn’t 100% complete. I have a few snaps and buttons to sew on, along with the tops of the lower pockets. I will probably add epaulettes too, but we’ll see. But or now i’m calling this costume finished, which means I only have three cosplays left to finish for Katsucon. No pressure.

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There has been a comical amount of interest in this costume, so I imagine I will get a few good pictures of it, which I will make sure to post here!

Thanks for reading ^^

The Making of Vlad Tepes – Eiyuu * Senki – 英雄*戦姫

This is the first post relating to this costume- I will probably write part 2 sometime mid October, since that’s when it will be fully completed. I *might* not even bother since this post will cover almost everything – aside from making the bear a prop, which I haven’t started on. 

That’s a probably, not a promise, so don’t bother keeping an eye out. 

Anna sent me a message saying she was going to be on Long Island for the weekend, and asked if I wanted to shoot. I jumped on the opportunity- only to realize I didn’t actually have a costume that was finished and ready to be shot. 

So I decided to finish this!…Kind of. I didn’t get some of the details done, and obviously I’m missing the bear and accurate footwear (finding boots in my size is impossible this time of year) I plan to get everything fixed up before wearing this to New York Comic Con, which is where I originally planned on debuting this. 

So this is Vlad Tepes, also known as Vlad the Impaler, or Dracula. But of course, it’s a cutsey’d up version designed by Oyari Ashito for the Story/ Strategy game Eiyuu*Senki (Princess * War Hero) 

I really love this game, it’s fun and entertaining (despite it being in a different language) and I’ve enjoyed every second that I have spent playing it. Vlad isn’t a character I usually reach for, because I’m not super fond of her attacks. I’m more of a canoneer, or explosive force based character fan..But Vlad is adorable, and I think I’m pale enough to pull off her vampire-esque features. 

I also really wanted to make something ruffly! After Napoleon and Marika (which is still unfinished) I was kind of sick of tailoring jackets. Instead I wanted something frilly and easy to make, which is exactly what this costume was! Such a fun and refreshing costume, although it was more time consuming than I would have liked…

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Like (almost) all my costumes, it started with a mock up.

 It came out pretty ugly, though this isn’t terribly surprising. Luckily all the main elements were okay, such as the sleeves and fitting in the bust. 

After taking the front seams in a bit I tore this apart and paper patterned it, it ended up being a fairly simple bodice. I chose peachskin as my main fabric since it’s soft, wrinkle resistant,  lightweight and silky but still heavy enough to hold a ruffle. It also drapes really nicely which made it good for the cape. 

Once that was all cut I sewed it together. Everything has 1/2″ seams which were pressed flat, nothing complicated here. 

 Added the lovely (tacky) front ruffle. 

 

And then it was time to begin work on the skirt! I was half excited, and half dreading working on this skirt. Each tier is four circle skirts, with horsehair braid in the hem, which means I get to do a 24 yard hem TWICE. Why yes, forty-eight yards of hemming, lovely, isn’t it? 

I made my Napoleon skirt this exact same way, so if the process looks familiar, that’s probably why! 

Step one is cutting out all the circle skirts. Quite the task when you need eight of them! 

Horsehair braid get’s pinned, then sewed into the hem.

Then that get’s rolled over, pinned, and you sew it yet again!

 

And then comes the ribbon. 

Volia! 

It’s almost there…just missing an obnoxious pleated bow.  

All together now!

.Then we move onto the cape, oh god the cape. The cape took more time than the entire dress, It was ridiculous. 

Since I wanted a very full cape with little volume at the nape of my neck, I decided to make it a large (39″) half circle “skirt”.  Once again, I used peachskin for this. 

Later on I went back and added interfacing to this entire black panel since it didn’t drape the way I wanted. It just sort of hung there in an unattractive manor and the batwing shape wasn’t very obvious, the interfacing stiffened it up and really improved the appearance.  

Since the lining is striped I had to cut out all forty strips and sew them together, quite the task! 

Luckily they looked more impressive sewn together. 

And when you think you are done…Nope! After I painstakingly sewed all of these together, it was time to iron all the seams open. Which was more time consuming than the sewing portion of this project. 

It also resulted in far more burns than I would care to admit. 

Once that was done I cut out the “batwing” shape, this part was really nerve wracking since there was no way to test how the shape would look, and obviously after it’s cut there is no going back. 

I sewed it right sides together (like a pillow case!) and top stitched it.  

(The dress looks awful here, please ignore that)

The collar was drafted super quickly, it’s peachskin stretched over the felt weight interfacing that I usually use for hats. I went through and tacked the cape in maybe thirty places, this ensured that the layers stayed together and kept it all smooth looking. 

I used matte black thread,to keep these little tacked down spots pretty inconspicuous. 

I sewed on seven 2″ pom poms and my cape was DONE. The collar looks a bit crooked in this picture since I was lazy about pinning it onto the dress form, but rest assured, it’s perfectly even. 

I feel like this cape resembles something a circus ring leader would wear moreso than the infamously cruel Vlad the Impaler, but hey, it’s accurate to the design. 

I chose a wig from the ebay store “cosplaywig” for this costume. They make the softest, thickest, prettiest wigs ever, they manage to make the weirdest colors look (somewhat) natural and flattering. This wig is no exception, it’s GORGEOUS, even though white/silver/grey isn’t a very attractive color on me. 

 

After a bit more fixing up on the dress it was DONE. Or at least done enough for the photoshoot with Anna Fischer, I plan to fix it up before comicon.

This shoot was really neat, we ventured out into the forest and came across all these creepy dead vines and rosebushes. There was also this hill covered in moss…I don’t think any of it was “pretty” but it was a wonderful backdrop for this creepy but vibrant character. 

Vlad The Impaler Eiyuu*Senki eiyu * senki princess * war hero cosplay

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Vlad The Impaler Eiyuu*Senki eiyu * senki princess * war hero cosplay

Once we left the forest we went over to “The Portly Grape”  an abandoned brothel turned restaurant which is currently vacant. It’s a really impressive structure with a lot of white victorian metal work, I’m really looking forward to seeing shots from that location! 

A bit of a fun fact (at least I think it’s fun) is that I listened to The Addams Family musical soundtrack all throughout making the cape of this costume. It’s really fun, cooky music with underlying creepiness, and it definitely helped me get into a better mindset while sewing dem’ stripes together. 

It’s really worth checking out, in my opinion! 

Kudos to you if you read through all of this! I’ve started on my next costume already and should be sharing progress on it in the near future. 

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Make sure to check out both Anna Fischer’s and Oyari Ashito’s work! 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/27594459@N04/

http://oyariashito.net/

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As always, if you have any questions or concerns feel free to ask! 

Also, I have plans to re-do my blog theme, so over the next few days it may be a bit funky.