Introduction: Gourry Gabriev - Slayers Cosplay Tutorial
It's THERMOTUTORIAL TIME! Earlier in 2020 I did a speed build of Gourry Gabriev from the Slayers anime series. For some reason I never wrote about it so I have decided to rectify that mistake and break down the process involved in creating a cosplay on the fly!
- The supplies/tools listed below
- Some basic sewing knowledge
- Pre-made patterns and/or the ability to draft patterns
- Some basic knowledge on how to use a heat gun SAFELY
- Safety equipment (safety glasses, gloves, respirator/mask)
- A well ventilated space
- LOTS OF PATIENCE
- Reference Art / Images
So let's get started!
NOTE: For those who don't have the time or patience to run through this entire tutorial I have included a video walk through in this section that covers nearly all aspects associated with this build. Good luck!
6 mm OR 10 mm EVA Foam (https://thecosplaypros.com/)
4 way stretch Spandex (https://spandexworld.com/)
Nylon Webbing and/or Strips of Vinyl (I used both)
Tailor's Chalk and/or Some Form of Erasable Drawing Instrument
4 Way Stretch Pleather/Vinyl
4 Way Stretch Spandex and/or Athletic Fabric (I used a knit/spandex blend)
Fabric Clips (NOT pins)
Painter's Tape and/or Duct Tape
A Measuring Tape and/or Bought Patterns
Sewing Needles (ball point and jean grade)
Sewing Thread (in colors that match your fabric)
A Heat Gun
A Mask and/or Respirator (to keep foam fumes OUT of your lungs)
A Pair of Shoes (for your boot covers to go over)
Contact Cement and/or Gorilla Glue Hot Glue
Contact Adhesive Brush and/or High Temp Hot Glue Gun
A Leather Belt (to attach your armor to)
Cutting Shears and/or Utility Knife (with sharpener or spare blades)
Industrial Velcro and/or Sticky Velcro
Step 1: Sewing
This was rather simple for me. I used an old pair of stretchy jeggings and an old button up shirt as my patterns.
For the boot cover pattern I used a combo of an old saran wrap/duct tape pattern I made and an existing boot cover to create the shape of the calf high boot for Gourry.
CUTTING / SEWING
I cut the jeggings apart so I had a back and front; then I folded them in half as my fabric was cut on a fold so I only had two pieces to sew together when all was said and done. I added a waist band by sewing two pieces of fabric together along their longest edge (it was 34" long). Then I flipped it inside out so I had a tube to insert elastic into. I sewed the ends together and attached the waistband to the pants.
For the shirt I folded it in half (fronts ends touching and back folded). I placed the back on the fold and left the front open. I cut out the patterns, sewed up the raw edges, cleaned them (rolled the edges and sewed them down) and then I flipped the shirt so that the back was the front (I did not want a front seam). As this is 4 way stretch fabric it didn't really matter where the front or back was but if it is specific with your pattern please follow the directions carefully.
For the sleeve pattern I used a sleeve from the old button down and merely removed the last 5 inches of it so it was a shorter pattern. I forgot to take a picture of the pattern but you can see the sleeves in the images above. The sleeves were two layers: 1 layer 4 way stretch pleather and 1 layer 4 way stretch athletic knit. I sewed the layers together so that the knit essentially lined the inside of my sleeve. I left the top open so I could flip the sleeve inside out and create a hidden edge. Next I sewed the two sleeve edges together and attached them to the sewn shirt.
The shirt collar was just a 2 long strips of fabric (20" long by 5" high). I sewed the long sides, flipped it inside out so I have a massive, floppy tube, then I sewed the edges and attached it to the shirt.
Finally, the boot covers were very simple. Since I cut the pattern on the fold (to avoid have a seam in the front) I only had to sew the back edges together. I added elastic to the bottom so I could stretch it over the heel I was wearing and I added a decorative high edge to the top by folding a piece of fabric in two and sewing it onto the top edge of the cover (this also helped stabilize the cover and gave me more tension so it would not slide down).
NOTE: All sewing was done using a ZigZag stitch with a medium stitch length and loose tension setting.
Step 2: Armor
I have experience as an artist so I typically draw patterns without much thinking. This time, for tutorial sake, I placed grid lines on my drawings to show how I line up my markings. I also measured my body and made sure the armor either matched or exceeded those measurements by a couple inches.
If you are not comfortable with drawing your own patterns here are some ideas on how to generate them:
- Print out the character to size, tape the print outs together and then create patterns using those prints.
- Purchase prints from cosplayers who sell them online (use keyword "Cosplay Armor Patterns")
- Commission someone to create custom patterns for you based off of your measurements
- Use a mannequin or duct tape dummy to create patterns
To cut out my armor I used a Utility Blade. The foam I was using is 6 mm thick and can be quite difficult to cut using shears (plus it creates really rough edges) so I prefer Utility Knives/Blades. You can also use a hot knife or a Rotary Tool if you don't have a blade available. Be sure to cut on a surface you either a) don't mind damaging or b) have protected from damage.
HEATING / HEAT SEALING
Foam expands and contracts. Closed cell foam, which is what EVA Foam is, is made using a mixture of gasses and chemicals to bond molecules into a tightly formed mass. This means that some gas gets trapped in the process of creating this material. Before you paint and/or otherwise use this material it is wise to release excess gas by lightly heating the surface until it turns glossy becomes darker in hue. Keep your heat gun about 6 inches away from the foam as it can melt the surface if you get too close.
Heating foam also allows you to shape it. I rolled my foam inward until I liked the curve it had. Then I used painter's tape to keep it in place as it cooled. I typically allow my foam to cool for 15-30 minutes before I release the tape. This encourages it to keep the shape you want it to have.
PAINTING / COVERING
For this tutorial I opted out of painting my foam. I live in a HOT, ARID environment and metallic paints honestly are a pain to maintain. So I decided to create spandex pockets for my foam. Here is the process...
- Fold your fabric in half so you will cut two of the same shape
- Trace the shape of EACH piece of armor onto the fabric (even if it's the same shape, some cuts are different)
- Cut out the fabric
- Sew ALL edges together on each individual piece (so if you have a triangle piece sew all 3 edges)
- Cut a TINY slit into the middle of the fabric (be sure that you are NOT cutting both sides, only cut a slit in one side of the fabric)
- Flip the fabric inside out so your shiny/presentation/face side is visible
- Take your piece of foam and work it into the fabric pocket you've created for it
- Congrats! You have just covered your foam in fabric WITHOUT using adhesive!
You CAN glue fabric onto foam using Spray Adhesives and/or contact cement. I mentioned I live in a hot environment so this method was best for me as it prevents excessive wear and tear from heat (I can also disinfect it with fabric spray, woohoo!). Please choose whichever method you are most comfortable with.
Step 3: Final Touches
BELT / STRAPPING
I have made belts in the past but, as I had limited time to create this costume (goofy me made it the week before the convention), I opted to use a found object instead. I removed the bullet casing holders and gun holsters from a costume shop gun belt. Next, I reinforced the belt with some vinyl/leather scraps and removed the metal buckle as I was replacing it with Industrial Velcro.
With the belt prepped, I placed it on my dress form and then used tape to keep the pieces of armor in place on my clothing as I made markings with chalk to determine how long my strapping needed to be and how big the pieces of velcro that secured each underside section was.
Strapping for this costume went as follow...
- Velcro strip under bust armor attaches to Nylon Webbing backed Vinyl; that strip is permanently secured to the back side of the belt buckle (with high temp hot glue) which adheres onto the belt via contact cement.
- Two vinyl loops serve as arm holes for the Pauldrons/Shoulder Armor. They are permanently attached to the Pauldrons with High Temp Hot Glue.
- Each Pauldron has one strip of vinyl on its underside the criss crosses in the back to form an x. These strips are permanently adhered to the belt using contact cement and attach to the Pauldrons with velcro through a d-ring (for security).
- There are two strips of vinyl from the breast plate that attach to the Pauldrons to act as "decorative" straps. They are permanently secured under the Pauldrons (using High Tempe Hot Glue) and attach to the breast plate via velcro.
- The hip armor is permanently attached to the belt using a combination of hot glue, super glue gel and contact cement.
Step 4: Completed Look
I forgot to document the creation of the fingerless gloves and wrist armor. They were basic and followed the same principles as already listed but here is the break down for posterity...
- Fingerless Gloves: two strips of fabric were cut in the shape of rectangles that matched the length of my forearm and the circumference. I sewed the longest edges together, flipped the fabric inside out, slid my arm through the tube I had created and cut a little slit for my thumb to slip through.
- Wrist Armor: I cut two, skinny rectangles out of 4mm foam. Then I used the same pocket method to cover my foam in fabric and finally, I sewed the fabric edges together to create a bangle I could wear.
The sword is one I have used for countless costumes. It's a polypropylene cold steel prop that I re-paint ever so often. It's con safe and easy to travel with.
The wig was purchased through Amazon (I believe it is an Angelaicos wig) and only required minimal styling.
I was so excited when my friend (Namae's Cosplays) offered to be my Lina Inverse. We took photos in the woods and had fun being two of our favorite Retro Anime characters. (photos by Kincart Photography)
A BIG shout out to https://thecosplaypros.com/ for providing all of the foam in this build and even some of the strapping and tools (I have adhesive brushes from them: AMAZING).
Also a shout out to #ThermoPatrons for encouraging me to complete this speed build. It turned out way better than I could have hoped in such a short time frame.
If you have questions feel free to toss them in the comments below. Thanks for reading and good luck on your cosplay endeavors!
Participated in the