SUBVERSIVE GURGLINGS.

Archive for November 2010

Ashe was such a monumental undertaking that I think there was always going to be a few blog posts about her wedding dress, considering how much time it ate up this year. I think there was just over a month spent on her (I technically finished it in two, but I was making her funeral dress for my sister at the same time), blood, tears, sweat– you name it, and it’s probably in the costume. Since it was such a gargantuan project though, I’ll write this over a few posts because otherwise 1.) you will get horribly bored and 2.) my fingers will fall off. ANYWHO.

Let’s talk veil and headdress!

Oh, Rasler. If only you had slightly more plot importance.

Before we begin, if you’re reading this because you’re planning this costume (or any other costumes of Ashe’s) I have to say that this website was insanely useful in this project! They have the concept drawings of her outfits as well as a large gallery of screenshots from the FFXII FMVs (which, incidentally, where the above shots are from), so yeah. Useful resource. Anyway, the veil was really what I was most excited to work on. Every girl dreams of being a pretty princess one day and, well, Ashe’s wedding veil is pretty impressive. I went scouting for tutorials on how to make hers and found Chica & Jo’s How to Make Your Own Wedding Veil perfect. However, instead of bridal tulle (which most veils are made of) I used an organza instead as I wanted it to flare out more like in the first picture– and organza has a bit more body to it than tulle without having incredible lengths of it. The first tier of the veil I made has straight edges, while the bottom two tiers had rounded edges so that it would sit all nicely.

Before any trimmings!

Everything had to be hemmed before I could continue and can I just say that hemming round corners on a material like organza is soul killing. Possible, but soul killing. At this point, the tiers weren’t sewn together, just pinned so I could test the length and see whether it was going to trip up people behind me. This was so I could do the designs on the veil without having to push 999 meters of organza out of the way! As for the designs on the veil tiers (like the circles on the top tier, the crosses on the second), I spent a very long time and a lot of trial and error trying to figure out how I could do nice, opaque golden designs on such a sheer fabric. I tried, up to and not including: acrylic paint, pens, golden fabric pens, fabric paint… and nothing was going to work. At least, it wouldn’t look pretty when you held it up to the light. However, I had a wee epiphany! Using the lightest, softest fusible interfacing I could find, I cut out the designs and ironed them onto the veil. Opaque, and it sticks!

Being ironed on.

IF YOU DECIDE TO USE THIS METHOD, I can’t stress enough, please make sure your iron is on a very, very low setting! I had a massive derp moment and put the iron down on the organza set for cotton fabrics and the baby melted straight through it, which kicks you straight back to square one. The more you know! Anyway, ironing on the interfacing only gave me an opaque white surface. From there, I then painted both sides of the designs with golden acrylic paint.

The finished result.

I was Extremely Pleased (TM) with this, as it turned out almost exactly how I wanted. You have to be a wee bit careful as to not abuse/bend the interfacing too much (because it will come unstuck if you put it through too much tension) but I’ve worn this costume three times now and my veil is still in near perfect condition. (: Then it was just a matter of sewing the right amount of accents on to the veil. I ended up using three to four different kinds of gold trim/ribbon so it would give it a bit of individuality.

For gathering, I just sewed the longest straight stitch my machine would do across the top and pulled the bottom thread, then handsewed it when it got to the point it was satisfactory. And that’s pretty much the entirety of the veil saga! Now for the headdress. I’m always scared of headdresses because there’s so many things to consider– the weight on your head (when you have to wear it around a con all day), how to attach it to said head without injuring yourself, etc. etc. And Ashe’s puzzled me for the longest time. For starters, the horn thingers that the feathers come out of have a really unusual shape– sorta curved. And in an endeavor to make the thing as light as possible, I opted for… EVA foam, cardboard from a tissue box and paper clay.

The right angle is the tissue box and the top is the foam, which allowed me to get a curve but still have some structural integrity. The curls at the end of the horns and the rounding at the front were done out of paper clay (which I have yet to find a substance it doesn’t attach itself to) and sanded. You can see in the photo above my incredibly primitive way of attaching the headdress to my head– I ran some thick, bendable wire through the bottom of the entire thing and fashioned it so it’d hook into the wefts of my wig. Not fun. The feathers were the next step, and after much poring over the screenshots, I decided I didn’t want to use real feathers. Not only could I not really afford to spend much more on the costume, but I also doubted I could find feathers that would look as close to the ones in her picture, so… I again went for EVA foam and bendy wire! Two things I couldn’t live without.

Each ‘feather’ was two layers of EVA foam hotglued together with a length of wire running through it for two purposes– one, to hook into the wire running across the bottom of the headpiece so that the feathers could be removable for transit, and two, so that once I was finished painting them, I could bend them into the curve that they have in Ashe’s headdress.

The hook!

Better view of the contraption.

I love acrylic paints! They’re so versatile. Next step; painting. I think the most difficult thing about this stage was the fact that they had to be fairly symmetrical and, well…

Left side!

Veil + headdress, without feathers attached.

Since the bottom would be hidden by my head/wig, I just hotglued the veil to the bottom in a semicircle. Here’s the whole thing together! It shows how the feathers ended up bending/sitting, which may be useful if you ever want to use this technique. Keep in mind that acrylic paint does take some punishment, but if you bend it too far, be prepared for cracks. :9

The ornaments under the headdress were another story entirely. The white underveil (I don’t even know what I should call it!) was made out of two layers of organza and then attached to each other through 3D FABRIC PAINT which was then painted with acrylic. The ornaments hanging down were all EVA foam, painted with gesso primer and then acrylic. They’re attached to the organza underveil by gold jumprings and bronze thread (and the mini ornaments underneath them are the same, with pearl drops glued between the foam layers.) This was an incredibly painstaking process, and was probably one of the things that took the longest on the costume. Photospam!

The drawing out & cutting stage. Sharpies never let you down.

Painting! The foam was the only thing the paint wouldn’t stick to…


Primering. I was also working on Ashe’s choker, here. :9

Threading together.

Finished!

So, I guess the moral of this blog post is that armed with acrylic paint and foam, anything is possible? More will come on the actual costume/chest armour later!

I was going to do a post on Lightning’s gloves instead, but since I don’t have enough photos, SERAH’S SHOES IT IS. Serah seriously has the most frustrating shoes in existence. For one, they have a small heel, but then they also have black soles, sawtooth lacing, an odd tan colour, a weirdly odd hi-top and… well, you get the picture. Literally.

Actually, her shoes were what scared me the most about the costume (apart from the chiffon shift) simply because they were so simple but so easy to screw up. So, the first step was to acquire a pair of shoes that I could mess around a bit with. In the end I got a pair of plain white sz 38 Converse-lookalikes off TradeMe, which were perfect due to the lack of the silly Converse logo on the sides of their hi-tops.

Something like these, although mine were a weird Chinese brand.

Next step was to make them tan! Having had mixed results with Dylon dyes before (and many, many stressfits), I wanted to try a different brand of dye that’d hopefully have better results. Since the shoes were made out of canvas and therefore a natural fibre, I went with the Procion MX Acid dyes which actually turned out to be extremely awesome. They were easy to use, quick to fix/set and the colour was really vibrant… a little too vibrant, actually. For Serah’s shoes, I picked their Straw colour, though in hindsight I should’ve fixed a duller tone because they ended up too yellow. This problem arose from picking a colour off an old coloursheet! So always be careful.

For the New Zealanders using this blog, I bought mine from Tillia Dyes & Fabrics which had great customer service, plus they have a wee dying tutorial on their website which was really useful! Postage was fast and they have a pretty decent range of colours to choose from as well. Plus they supply soda ash at a very reasonable price (which is needed for fixing the acid dye.) So, the shoes! They were dyed, but turned out a bit too yellow, after much deliberation.

GOSH MY FLOOR IS MESSY

Since Serah’s shoes are much duller/tan than this sorta beige colour, I spent a long time trying to figure out what I could do to dull them. It was a week before the convention, so ordering more dye would be useless as it wouldn’t get to me in time, plus then there’s the drying/fixing stage– so, as a last resort, I dyed the shoes with tea. Plain black tea. I was EXTREMELY SKEPTICAL about whether or not this would work, but it actually turned them amazing! The exact colour I wanted.

Here’s the method I used for tea dying.

1.) First, soak all the fabric and make sure it’s wet through. Warm water is probably best, though I think I did mine in cool. This is to help the dye adhere evenly to the fabric.
2.) Get a vessel that’ll fit the item you’re dying and put in about a litre of warm/hot water, as well as half a teaspoon of salt (to help fix the dye from the tea).
3.) Put in 3-4 teabags for a mild colouration and wait for them to steep. If you want an even colour on your fabric, remove the teabags before putting your item in the water.
4.) After that, I then kneaded the fabric for a wee while to make sure everything was mixed evenly, then I left them for about 6-7 hours with one teabag left sitting in the water.
5.) When they’re done, just wring them out and wait for them to dry!

Visibly duller, and everyone can go home happy.

After that ordeal, the next task was to make the soles black. Our Hope and I went through a number of options (as we both needed to somehow blacken the soles of our shoes) that we could go for. Acrylic was one, but it’s pretty poor at staying on when faced with friction, so that was ruled out. We were at the point of losing hope (PUN) when she discovered something magical– TYRE PAINT. Yes, the paint you use to make your car tyres all lovely and shiny. We used that on the soles of our shoes and it stayed on through the whole convention which was much more than I was expecting, and it had great coverage! I only wished it came it more colours, it’d be incredibly useful for other shoe alterations.

The laces were placed with black ones and then done up with the sawtooth method (though Serah’s have them going opposite sides!) A tutorial for this is here, with a pretty diagram that makes them way easy. (:



  • Lucy Morris: I'm super glad it was of use to you! Do you have any photos of your cousin? (:
  • DHB - Jaeger: Thank you for this tutorial. I "borrowed" a few ideas from it to make my own KD cosplay, which premiered last weekend ^_^
  • serafiki: I got them off of my country's local auction site, TradeMe. (:

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