Thursday, May 29, 2014

Cosplay Construction: Satsuki Kiryuin

During the process of making Satsuki's dress "Junketsu", I took more progress pictures than usual (read: more than zero) so that I could get feedback from various places. I realized that this meant I could share those process photos with all of you, so that you can see a little bit of what goes into making a cosplay from scratch!

There are still a few tweaks to be done before Anime Expo, and I'm still working on perfecting the eyebrow makeup, but here's a little peek into how I get things done.
I started out by picking my pattern(s) and drafting the initial pattern pieces. Then I made a mock-up out of scrap fabric in order to adjust the fit. I padded my bust MUCH larger than usual (haha) so I had to figure out how to change the pattern around them--it's an area of my anatomy I'm not used to having to fit so carefully!

I tried the mock-up on several times, pinning and making adjustments, and then transferring those adjustments to the pattern for the final version. I also used the mock-up to get the shape of the collar and cuffs correct, and practice getting the bodice stripes correct.

Once I liked the way the mock-up fit, and the way the shapes of the collar, scarf, cuffs, and skirt fit together, I started on the real version. I also did the same thing for the boot covers to get the length and fit right, but forgot to take anything other than sad cell phone pictures of those.

I started by piecing together the main bodice parts, and then attaching the skirt. I made the collar separately, so that it would sit correctly with the scarf and epaulets.While everything was still flat, I appliqued on the gold stripes after lots of pinning and testing on the dressform! Once the stripes were in place and secured with satin stitching, I added the sleeves, closed the back of the skirt, and put in an invisible zipper. Once the zipper was in, time for more fit checks.

Next came the eye scarf, which I made with quilting cotton. The pieces are also all appliqued on with iron-on adhesive, and then finished with satin stitch. The eyes are basted on to the back of the collar. I actually had to redo one of the eyes TWICE because I wasn't happy with the way he was "looking"--first he was looking in two different directions, and then he was cross-eyed!

After the eyes came the epaulets, which are made with multiple pieces of muslin and interfacing sandwiched between gold satin and upholstery fringe. The shoulder cords are also upholstery cord.

I'm actually probably going to replace the zipper with a more sturdy one before the convention, which will also give me a chance to correct the stripes lining up. Although I won't get as clean of a line in the back with a regular zipper, the wig is so long that I don't think it will really be a problem. The invisible zipper just isn't strong enough to handle three layers of fabric and adhesive.

After the dress was finished, I put together the boots, which was a whole other adventure... I used nude pumps for the base, and painted the heels with blue to match. The boots are the same stretch twill as the dress, with matching blue bias tape for the stripe. There is a blue zipper in the back, hidden partly by the bias tape. These things were a pain in the ass to make, but really good practice as well!

With all the sewing done, it was time to do the final pieces--the armband and hair "wings"! I made them out of craft foam, finished with paint and glue sealant. I still need to figure out the best ways to attach them to my wig and sleeve respectively. I also worked on the wig off and on.

Finally, the last thing to do is to work on makeup! Getting the right eyebrow shape is going to be a challenge for me, as well as getting them dark enough without making them look super fake. This is just attempt number one--I expect it will take several tries to get them right before the convention, but hey, that's what we do when we cosplay, right?

Overall, I'm quite pleased with how everything turned out. The fate of a perfectionist is to never be 100% happy, but I'd say I'm sitting at around 90% satisfied, and that is pretty damn good!

I hope this was a fun change of pace from all of the usual Lolita posts, and stay tuned for more cosplay stuff coming up as the convention gets closer and closer.


  1. Oh your cosplay is great! I'm planning to make Satsuki cosplay and this help me so much thanks <3

  2. I saw your progress pictures on /cgl/ a while ago and I thought this costume looked familiar. Definitely one of the best satsuki cosplays I've seen, I'm especially in love with the gold trim !

    1. Ahh, thank you so much! It means a lot to hear that. CGL gave me a lot of really great feedback--as harsh as they can be, it's a really useful place.

  3. how long did you make the skirt? and what patterns did you use?

    1. The skirt is about 12" long, and I drafted the pattern myself (no commercial patterns were used).

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  5. Did you buy or find the pattern somewhere? I normally have to patch together patterns and I really your turned out. So clean!