Character Name: Lulu
Character Source: Video Games - Final Fantasy X
Estimated Total Price: 300$ CDN
Related Tutorials: None
Prize won: Hall Cosplay Award - Anime North 08
This is the first costume I made for my wife - I wanted the character I was going to pick the costume from to be beautiful, to be classy, to be from something my wife knew about and also something that would go along with my own costumes. It was too difficult to find - my wife knows and love Final Fantasy and she found me very handsome in my Auron Cosplay. So we decided on Lulu from the same game (Final Fantasy X).
When I started this costume - I never thought it would be so hard to complete :)
We first concentrated on the skirt and sleeves - since it had to be painted on for the design (this would be for my wife to do). So I made the pattern for the skirt in newspaper. It was easy enough to do, because you can see very well wears the seams should appear on Lulu's skirt on the reference pictures. It was just to figure out what size the 6 pieces I was going to sew together to get the skirt needed to be. I sewed a zipper in the back to make it easier to put on and take off.
As for the belts on this skirt - I wanted to use real leather belts, so attaching them to that pleather skirt would just not cut it (it would warp the form of the skirt because of all this weight pulling forward. It wasn't the greatest idea, because my wife is always complaining on how it makes her look when she has the costume on (I don't see the difference, but hey, she's the one wearing it :)), but I decided that I would all attach the belts to a real belts she would be wearing under her skirt. So the weight would hang for that belt and not the skirt - so everything would look good.
Here is a picture to better illustrate where the skirt belts are hanging from.
The grey part represent the skirt - the red parts are the "hanger belts" (where all the other belts are attached to) - the brown parts reprensent all the other belts.
However, if I had to do that all over again - I would fashion the belts myself using pleather and craft foam to give them body enough but keep them very lightweight. I would use the same technique to hang them from a belt worn under the skirt... but since it would have been lighter, I would have use a nylon strap as the belt - this would have made it easier to "hide" it under the skirt (which would have made my wife complain less :P).
The sleeves are also done in pleather and I made the pattern in newspaper to make sure I had the right lenght and size. I also sewed velcro to the top of those sleeves - the other part of this velcro would be sewed to the fur collar so the sleeves would hang correctly. I didn't want to use the usual method of tightening the little belts at the top of the sleeves as most Lulu cosplayer were complaining this wasn't comfortable. But the velcro turned out to be a not so good idea - the velcro wasn't strong enough and when my wife is wearing the costume we always have to reattach the velcro of her sleeves.
If I had to do that all over again - I would use a nylon strap with a small plastic buckle. As for the velcro, one side would be sewed to the sleeve, the other to the fur collar. The lenght of the strap would be adjustable at all time and would be easily hidden under the fur collar. I think it would make this more practical and we would never have to look over the sleeves as the plastic buckle would hold when the velcro wouldn't.
Surely the most painful part of the costume to make - and the most time consuming. I was lucky enough to be able to use a corset that my wife had and looked similar to Lulu (in form and where the seams were). I patterned this part of the costume in wax paper (cause I wanted to reuse that pattern later). I then made a mock up in left over pleather from the skirt to see what it looked like - it was perfect. I then cut the pieces out of my velvet and started sewing. The only part I was able to do with my sewing machine was attaching the main part of the corset together - everything else was done by hand.
I used bias tape of the correct color for the grey part of the corset. I sewed the vertical stripes first and left the top open - so I could insert plastics boning in the bias tape. I then went on to sew the top and bottom bias tape to close everything off. I finally put the grommet in on the back and used a black silk ribbon for clossing it. It looks amazing (well to my taste :P).
However, if I have to do that again - I would still do everything by hand as it looks so much better. But I would invest in boning "caps" - I don't know the exact name, but these are little caps you're suppose to stick to your plastic bonings tips. This will make them less sharp and will make the corset more durable and more comfortable to wear. I would also cut the boning a little shorther for the parts that are arriving under the arms - this would also make the corset more comfortable to wear.
Not much to say here - we made the necklace with beads bought a cool place in Ottawa that specializes in real stones. Here is the link to their online store: CanBeads.
For the big purple beads necklace - we used steel wire instead of tiger tail or regular craft "rope". This was to make sure the necklace would always fall properly - and it does :)