Introduction: How to Make a Saber Lily Costume
I loved the design of this character when I first saw her, and finally made the costume of her to attend anime conventions with. Saber Lily is an alternate outfit for the character Saber from Fate/Stay Night. Saber Lily appears in the video game Fate/Unlimited Codes.
This costume took me about 3 months working on and off from July to September, and I spent about $300-$400 on it, including the wig and boots. Saber Lily taught me several new skills, including sewing, working with Wonderflex (a thermoplastic), woodcarving, wig styling, and spray painting, all of which I learned on the internet from forums and instructional sites such as this one. Even though you might not want to make a Saber Lily costume, I hope this Instructable can help with other areas of craftmaking!
Step 1: List of Materials
Here are the materials that I used and where I got it.
White sateen (Joann's)
Gray cotton (Joann's)
Pink cotton (Joann's)
Black cotton (Joann's)
White satin lining (Joann's)
White satin ribbon (P&S Fabrics, but I recommend getting it online instead because it's cheaper that way)
Hooks and eyes (Joann's)
3 round beads, 3 long tear drop shaped beads (jewelery store necklace that I took apart)
Silver nail polish
Wonderflex Jumbo Size (www.cosplaysupplies.com/store.php)
Heat gun (I borrowed mine, you can get it at a Home Depot)
2 cans of Montana Spray paint in Silverchrome (Dickblick's)
1 can of Montana Spray paint in Goldchrome (Dickblick's)
Blue acrylic paint (Pearl Paint)
Gesso (Pearl Paint)
Sanding sponge (Home Depot)
Foam brushes (K-Mart)
Long piece of wood about the size of the sword (found it)
Wood carving knives (Pearl Paint)
Belt sander (borrowed it)
Purple fake jewels (Joann's)
Blond wig (eBay)
Wig cap (any wig store)
Hot glue gun
Step 2: Planning and Drafting
1. The first and most important thing you want to do is plan out and draft the costume. Find as many images as possible of the character from different angles. I think well made figurines are especially helpful because you can see the character from every angle. If you don't draft out the patterns well, then as you go on the rest of the costume won't sew together properly and it won't look good when you wear it.
2. Now you want to buy the materials you need. See previous step for list of materials.
3. You can either find patterns that are similar to what you're making and adjust them, or try to draft your own based on proportions of the item you're making to the character (like if the dress hits a little above the knee, then make your dress to be above the knee). For the dress bodice, I took a dress shirt with a princess seam that had a similar cut to Saber Lily's dress and drew out each piece of the shirt from where the seam lines are on sheets of poster paper. Make sure to leave a seam allowance for the places you're going to sew on.
I didn't take any photos of the patterns I drew for the dress, so I uploaded a picture of an early draft I had for a piece of the armor instead to give you an idea.
4. Next, I drew out on cheap fabric (muslin) the pieces I made and pinned them together on my body. You might need someone's help with this part to pin the hard to reach places. Even better would be if you had a dressform of your size that you can work off of. After pinning the seam lines, adjust the pins to make it tighter or looser so the fabric is form fitting. Draw lines on the fabric of the new places where the pins are.
5. Recut your muslin mockup and trace the new muslin pieces onto poster paper. Then, you can either try doing another muslin mock up and repeat as necessary or trace onto the fabric you'll be using for your costume. In the photo, I have my pink and white fabrics for the bodice pinned together, and the pink fabric and interfacing for the petals cut out. The petals are made with interfacing sandwiched between pink fabric to make it a little more stiff.
Step 3: Sewing the Bodice
1. If it helps you, pin your pieces together before you sew it. I sewed the dress together with a 1/4" seam allowance with a straight stitch, the only stitch my mom's sewing machine could do.
2. After sewing the pieces together, cut notches into any parts with curves so when you turn the seam side in, the fabric will lay smooth.
3. Then I used a serger to overlock the edges of the fabric. Hemming your seams makes the fabric lay better when you wear it and also extends the life of your clothing. I read online after I finished the costume that you don't have to hem seams that have lining, but it made me feel secure doing it anyway.
4. Iron your seams so they're all lying flat. I made my seams on the bodice go towards the center white part and the back.
5. I made a strip of black bias tape out of the black fabric and pinned it onto the princess seams of the bodice. I hand sewed this down so I could keep the curve of the chest part.
6. Sew your lining on the back of the bodice. Lining helps your costume lay better and also protects your costume from wear and tear, as well as reducing moisture.
7. Make two strips of white bias tape, sew them together and over lock it. Then sew them to the top of the bodice and iron it flat.
8. For the petals on the skirt, I sewed the pink fabrics and interfacing together first.
9. Then I cut out a 4 inch wide strip of black fabric, folded the two long edges to the center to make a 2 inch strip, then folded that in half to make a one inch strip, kind of like making bias tape. Iron the strips flat.
10. Then I wrapped the petals in the black fabric and sewed it down. For two of the petals, I made them half petals and wrapped one side of it with two strips of white bias tape that I made from the same fabric as the white in the bodice.
11. Sew the petals onto the bottom of the bodice.
Step 4: Sewing the Skirt
1. For the white and gray skirts, I made circle skirts. Figure out how long you want to make the white skirt. For Saber Lily, it ends at about the knee. Then, figure out the radius of your waist size, (for example if your waist is 28", divide by 2pi to get about 4.5" for the radius.) Add the waist radius to the length of the skirt to get the total radius of the circle skirt.
2. Take a large square of fabric with the length on both sides at least double the total radius. Fold it in half, then half again. Take a piece of string the length of the total radius and tie it around a pen. Put the end of the string without the pen onto the corner of the fabric that is the center of the fabric. Put the end with the pen stretched to it's limit to draw the arc on the fabric. Now you have a quarter circle.
3. Repeat the above except with the waist radius. Now you have two quarter circles, on smaller than the other.
4. Cut on the line while keeping your fabric folded so in the end you will have a donut shaped piece of fabric.
5. Use a serger to do the rolled hem stitch on the bottom of the skirt. For the top of the skirt I used the overlock stitch.
6. Repeat the above steps with the gray fabric, which has a shorter length than the white fabric.
7. Sew the tops of the two skirts together with the gray one on top.
Step 5: Putting the Dress Together
1. Sew the skirt under the petals of the dress.
2. Right now, the bodice isn't closed yet. Put in an invisible zipper. You will probably have to cut into the dress to extend the gap from the bodice. Here's a good tutorial on invisible zippers: sewiknit.blogspot.com/2006/03/invisible-zipper-tutorial.html
3. And your dress is finished! In the photos I uploaded in this step, I made a mistake with the gray skirt in having it go all the way around when the part that is under the white in the bodice is actually supposed to be cut out, so the gray circle skirt isn't a complete circle. I fixed this later on and you can see the results in the later photos.
Step 6: Sewing the Petticoat
I found this website helpful on how to make a petticoat: sugardale.blogspot.com/2008/08/how-to-make-petticoat.html
I changed some of the steps to make it a little easier for myself.
1. Instead of crinoline, I used tulle, which doesn't fray so it's easy to work with. I cut out long 6 inch panels and sewed them together to get a 6 inch by 8 yard strip, a 6 inch by 4 yard strip, and a 6 inch by 2 yard strip.
2. I gather the fabric of the 8 yard strip as I sewed it down to the 4 yard strip, then the 4 yard strip to the 2 yard strip. For the 2 yard strip, I gathered it to a strip of white satin ribbon the length of my waist.
3. I hemmed the bottom edge of the 8 yard strip with white satin ribbon folded in half as well as the top of the 2 yard strip. I also sewed down satin ribbon on the gathers between each panel.
4. I closed the petticoat by sewing the 6 inch edges of the 4 yard and 8 yard strips together but left the 2 yard panel open. I hemmed the 6 inch edges of the 2 yard panel and hand sewed in hooks and eyes.
I included a photo of what the skirt looks like without the petticoat and with the petticoat.
Step 7: Carving the Sword (Caliburn)
Now we're going to carve Saber Lily's sword called Caliburn out of wood.
1. First I found a large picture of Caliburn and blew it up on the computer until it was in proportion to my height compared to Saber Lily. Then I printed it out and drew the outline on a piece of plywood.
2. I cut out the outline of the sword with a jigsaw.
3. I used a chisel to make the blade slanted and sharp, then used a belt sander to smooth out the blade and round out the handle.
4. Using the sword you printed out, cut out the blue parts and then trace the holes onto the sword. You can also poke holes into the picture to make marks on the wood.
5. Find the highest point of the sword first and carve that out, then level off the rest of the sword. For this, the diamond in the middle is the tallest point. Keep doing this until you reach the lowest level. I didn't know much about wood carving, and the only real important thing I learned online is that you always should carve with the grain of the wood, otherwise the wood will crack instead of coming off smoothly.
6. For the indentations, cut around it with the knife, then use the U shaped scoop knife to scoop the wood out. For the more delicate areas, just use the straight knife or V shaped knife.
Step 8: Painting the Sword
When spray painting, make sure you're in a well ventilated area and wear a ventilation mask. Spray paint particles in your lungs is no good for you!
1. Cover the silver parts of the sword and the handle with painters tape or masking tape. We're going to paint the gold parts only first.
2. Clean off the area to be painted. Wipe any dust and grime off, because that will prevent you from having a nice smooth layer.
3. Spray paint the gold onto the sword (Montana Goldchrome). You want to make the paint as even and thin as possible. It's much better to do several thin layers rather than one thick layer, because thick layers won't dry properly and will cover up details. It will also cause bubbles to form in the paint. I messed up the spray painting and had to sand off the bubbles, then paint it over. I put about 4 layers of paint on this I think.
4. Wait until the paint dries and cures. This took several days for my sword. Otherwise, the paint will still be soft and become dented if you touch it. If you pinch it too hard, your fingerprints will stay in the paint.
5. Take the tape off and tape up the gold parts. Now we will paint the silver parts. I put a garbage bag over the handle so I wouldn't have to use so much tape. I hung my sword with C-stands so I could paint both sides at once.
6. Paint in the blue parts with acrylic paint. I handpainted this part because I didn't want to put so much tape over the gold part. In the picture, parts of the gold paint got ripped off by the tape.
7. Krazy glue the 6 purple jewels onto the sword.
Step 9: Shaping the Armor
For the armor, I went with a thermoplastic called Wonderflex. You can heat up the plastic, shape it, then it will hold it's shape as it cools. People have used hair dryers, heat guns, and boiling water to heat it. I used a heat gun. Wonderflex is thin and you can cut it with a pair of scissors. It's self adhesive, so when you heat it up you can stick it to other pieces of wonderflex and it will create a strong bond as it cools. The bond between two pieces of Wonderflex is stronger than the bond created with hot glue. I actually have a problem getting hot glue to stick to Wonderflex. If you need to attach small parts to the Wonderflex, I would try using Krazy glue instead.
For the gauntlets and boots, I put Wonderflex over a pair of gloves and boots to make it easier to put the parts together.
1. Draft out the shapes and cut out the shapes from the Wonderflex.
2. Use the heat gun to heat up the Wonderflex. It should be wobbly and flexible after heating.
3. Shape the wonderflex by either holding it in a shape or putting it on a mold until it cools.
4. Wonderflex can be used over and over, so keep reheating and shaping until the shape is right.
Step 10: Polish and Paint Armor
Wonderflex has a characteristic duct tape texture. To get rid of it, one way is to paint it with gesso and sand it smooth between each layer. I included a photo that shows what a polished and unpolished piece of armor looks like.
1. Paint armor with gesso. Apply with foam brushes to make it smoother.
2. Sand down the gesso after it dries.
3. Repeat about 8 times. Yes, this will take forever.
4. Spray paint the armor.
5. I also added pieces of velcro to hold the armor together around my chest and waist.
Step 11: Style Wig
The wig I got wasn't meant to be put into a ponytail so it doesn't look that good. I'm probably going to get another wig that is short with a clip on ponytail instead. For this wig, it was originally longer. I cut it shorter and cut the bangs on either side of the face. I made a bow with black fabric and attached a hair tie to it, then put it on the wig.
Step 12: Finalizing
I didn't take pictures of how I made some of the small parts of the costume - the collar, sleeves, and black dangling fabric on the front and back. For those, I mostly drew the shape on two pieces of fabric, sewed them together, then turned them inside out and ironed it flat so the seams don't show. I made the beads on the black fabric with beads from a necklace and painted it silver with silver nail polish because I was out of spray paint. For the puffy sleeves, I made a sort of cylinder of fabric and used elastic to keep it on my arms.