Introduction: Magic Knight Rayearth: Fuu Hououji Cosplay
Well I am back at it again. I made ANOTHER Magic Knight Rayearth cosplay. This time I took elements from Sunset Dragon's Designs and the original CLAMP Art Book as my inspiration. These designs required that I complete the following...
- Resin Gems
- Breast Plate
- Skirt Jewelry
Here are the materials I used in this build...
- Foam Clay (provided by the Cosplay Pros)
- 2 MM and 4 MM EVA Foam (provided by the Cosplay Pros)
- Foam Bevels / Triangles (provided by the Cosplay Pros)
- Candy Molds (Acquired from The Cosplay Pros and Amazon)
- 4.5 Yards of 4 Way Stretch Green Fabric (acquired at JoAnns Fabric)
- 3.5 yards of Green Performance Fabric (acquired at JoAnns Fabric)
- Extra Wide Double Fold Bias Tape (Green and Gold)
- 1/2" & 1" Elastic in white
- Hook and Eye Closure
- Double Sided Industrial Velcro in White
- High Density Foam 600 MM (provided by The Cosplay Pros)
- All Purpose Sewing Thread (Green, Black and Gold)
- Acrylic Paint (Green, Gold, Black and White)
- White Oil Paint Pen
- Black Plasti-Dip (provided by The Cosplay Pros)
- Gold Spray Paint
- Mod Podge Matte Spray Sealant
- White Feather Trim (acquired at JoAnns Fabric)
- Poly-Fil and Mid Weight Interfacing
- Green Headband
- Gold Headband
- Gold Glitter Craft Foam
- Nail Polish (Green, Green Glitter, Lacquer)
- Grommet Kit
- Feather trim
- Thrift Store Jewelry / Glass Beads / Chains
- Singer All Purpose and Ball Point Sewing Needles
- Singer Industrial Sewing Machine
- Measuring Tape
- Fabric Pins and Clips
- Fabric Chalk
- Meter Long Ruler (metal)
- Fabric Scissors
- Cutting Shears / Foam Scissors
- Utility Knife
- Contact Cement
- 10 Second Gorilla Super Glue
- Dremel with cutting and sanding bits
- Protective Glasses
- Breathing Mask
- Painting Booth aka Pop Up Closet from Ikea
- Gorilla Glue High Temp Hot Glue Sticks
- Hi Temp Hot Glue Gun
- Heat Gun
Step 1: Sewing - Shirt, Skirt, Corset and Cape
To sew the shirt I needed the breast forms I was going to wear with it on my dress form. My dress form has breast on it so I knew the shirt would be a little bigger on me which is what I wanted (wiggle room is great). I used an old button down t-shirt as a pattern then clipped the unsewn pieces onto my dress form. From there I tailored the fit until it was just right.
Next, I sewed all the seams together with a zigzag stitch using general thread and a ballpoint needle on my sewing machine. Once it was sewn I placed the sleeveless shirt back onto the dress form. I did not attach sleeves as they added weight to the garment and I needed to cut out the boob window with the fabric laying as flat as possible. Once I had my boob window cut out I was able to clean up the edges with gold bias tape and move on to the sleeves.
Since I was using 4 way stretch athletic spandex I knew that creating puffy sleeves was going to be tricky. To start, I made sure I used mid weight interfacing so the sleeves would have more form. I followed THIS puff sleeve tutorial and used satin blanket binding to create a channel for the elastic that would draw the sleeve in at the bottom. It attached the top of the sleeve to the shirt. Once it was sewn on I used THIS tutorial to create a sailor moon like rolled sleeve. I flipped the shirt inside out and sewed the rolled sleeve onto the edge trim of the inside sleeve. I then flipped the shirt so that the front was outside and the edges were inside. The combination of a rolled sleeve (acting like a shoulder pad) and interfacing created a lovely, sturdy puffy sleeve in spandex.
The final addition was a collar made of satin blanket binding. I measured my neck then doubled the length of the binding. I attached it to the edges then slid some elastic through to gather the neck. Finally, I cut a slit in the back, hemmed the edges and added a hook and eye closure so I could get my head through the opening.
For the skirt I measured my hips and used that measurement as my waist. I measured from my waist to my ankles and added 2" at the top so I could create a waistband. I then measured from mid thigh to my ankles so I could create a hi-low skirt. I cut two of these shapes and sewed all sides together except the waist. Next I flipped the skirt inside out so the edges were hidden and created a waist band channel. Finally, I fed elastic through and sewed up the last open edge for the elastic channel.
My skirt lacked volume and, after creating it, I did some research to re-make it. I found THIS TUTORIAL on creating hi-low skirts that much better demonstrates how to go about creating this garment. I simply underestimated the amount of fabric I would need AND the height it needed to be (60" reams are best).
This was a BEAST. I have NEVER made a corset before and I knew I DID NOT want boning from the start. I used heavy weight vinyl that is made to resemble leather. I took my dress form, some saran wrap and painter's tape. With these items I wrapped my dress form, laid layers of tape and drew a pattern. I cut the pattern off of my dress form and traced it onto the back side of my vinyl. I cut two pieces and sewed them so that the mock leather finish was on the back and front. I trimmed the excess off of the vinyl with NON FABRIC scissors (I suggest strong shears) and moved onto the detailing.
The detail work with the corset involved grommets, foam triangles/bevels, 4 mm EVA Foam, spray paint and resin gems. Here is a break down of the process...
- Measure your EVA foam details
- Cut out the foam with NON FABRIC scissors (foam DULLS scissors as an fyi so use ones you can sharpen)
- Lay the large foam details out and trace shape with fabric chalk
- Place contact cement on the vinyl AND the foam (follow instructions on contact cement)
- Apply foam to vinyl
- Measure foam bevels/triangles
- Apply bevels/triangles to foam and vinyl using contact cement
- Add grommets to ends of corset (follow directions on grommet kit)
- Take corset outside and spray paint it with mutli-purpose, metallic gold spray paint
- Seal paint with Mod Podge Matte Sealant Spray
- Take dry corset inside and draw on details with sharpie, paint OR oil based marker
- Take resin gem (see casting section of this tutorial for how to create resin gems) and attach to corset with super glue OR hot glue
This part was VERY simple. I measured my neck; next I measured from the nape of my neck to my feet. I folded my 4 way stretch spandex in half and drew a half moon on the top for my neck measurement. I then went down the length of my fabric until it matched my back length. Next, I drew from the folded edge out 30". From the bottom 30" mark I created a diagonal line to the edge of the neck half moon. Finally, I cut out the cape.
To strengthen the garment I lined the edges with cotton extra wide double fold bias tape in forest green. I did NOT line my cape as I wanted it to billow more in the wind and as I walked (less weight allowed for more motion). Finally, I wrapped the cape around my shoulders and measured where I wanted to sew velcro for the attachment. You can follow THIS CAPE TUTORIAL series for different ways to create capes.
Step 2: Casting - Gems
This process is not overly complicated. Just be sure that your gem mold is clean and dry (water causes a negative reaction with resin). When the resin is curing keep it in a warm, dry place free from dust. Please know that clear cast resin typically takes 24-36 hours to fully cure. Here is how I created my gems...
- Place a mask or respirator on along with gloves
- Mix equal 1:1 part of Easy Cast Clear Cast Resin in a plastic container (I like to use clear plastic cups in 2 oz sizes then pour the equal parts into an 8 oz plastic cup).
- Stir the resin with a plastic straw OR a wooden dowel
- Take your molds and slowly pour the resin into them (I prefer silicon molds but just about any candy mold or mold made for resin casting works)
- Gently pick up your mold (be careful not to spill the resin) and lightly tap it on a flat surface to get any air bubbles out of your resin
- Place your mold in a warm, dry place and allow the resin to cure for 24-36 hours (I prefer 32 hours)
- Use a glove to tap the top of your resin to see if it is cured. If it is hard and does not jiggle when you move the mold then it is ready to be removed.
- Remove the resin from your mold and wipe it down with a microfiber cloth or piece of cotton fabric to remove any liquid that did not cure and to clean the gem
- Use any strong nail lacquer/paint that matches your needed gem color and paint the back of the gem (I like to do 2-3 coats)
- Once the paint is dry use a STRONG Nail Lacquer Clear Coat to seal the underside you just painted with nail polish.
- Finally, flip the gem over and use the same clear coat on the top of the gem.
- You now have colorful, light reflecting gems!
NOTE: When attaching gems I suggest either a strong epoxy, gorilla glue hot glue OR a quick set super glue gel.
Step 3: Armory - Breast Plate, "Pauldrons" and Bracers
This took a considerable amount of thought. I considered using foam covered in Worbla but did not like that the breast plate would be heavy and hard. Next I considered a quilted/stuffed fabric but was concerned about maintaining the curve of the "feathers". Finally, I settled on Foam Clay provided by The Cosplay Pros. Foam Clay is an EVA foam that has been treated to allow its user to sculpt it like clay. It has about a one hour working time before you need to add some water to re-moisten it. It cures fully in 24-48 hours.
Please watch the video included in this tutorial for an example of how easy it is to work with this product.
I measured the size I would need the breast plate to be and sculpted it on my floor (which is concrete, if you don't have tile/concrete I would suggest a work table or flat, clean surface). Once I had the general form ready I transferred it to my shirt. I realized I needed another layer and applied more Foam Clay directly under the plate I sculpted. The foam clay blends easily with water and sticks to fabric (WARNING: It WILL stain fabric so if you don't intend to permanently attach or hide the fabric I suggest sculpting on a dummy shirt/garment).
Once it was fully formed I let it dry on my dress form for 48 hours while I worked on other aspects of my costume.
I came back two days later to a dry, flexible (yet strong) breast plate. I carefully removed it from the fabric and took it to my painting booth to spray it with White Plasti-Dip (2 coats of plasti-dip were used). I sealed it with Matte Mod Podge spray and, once it was dry, I carefully glued it onto my shirt using a High Temp Glue Gun and Gorilla Glue Hot Glue Sticks.
Next, I used a sharpie and some oil based markers to shade the breast plate. Finally, I glue a resin gem as detail to the top with hot glue and the breast armor was complete!
Okay, these aren't really what I would call Pauldrons but they ARE some sort of shoulder armor. I measured the circumference of my sleeve and decided to use one layer of vinyl with some foam bevels glued onto them. I free handed the design after taking measurements, cut out the shape, glued on foam triangles and spray painted the pauldrons gold. Next I placed velcro on the edges and secured them to the sleeves. My final detail was a resin gem at the center of each glued on with super glue gel.
For these I took my wrist measurement, middle arm measurement and arm length. I drew a sort of rhombus shape with a triangle at the top to create the bracer. I cut it out of vinyl and glued on some 2mm EVA Foam and Foam Triangle details (foam provided by The Cosplay Pros). Next I spray painted them gold, sealed them with Matte Mod Podge Sealant and glued on a green resin gem.
To secure them to my wrist I cut off the hand part of some gloves that did not fit my fingers correctly and used the wrist as a sleeve. I glued the bracers to the sleeve and used better white gloves for an illusion of full bracers.
(NOTE: I had A LOT of trouble with adhesives on the vinyl so I am re-making these out of worbla and following the same process).
Step 4: Weaponry - Sword
I have made this sword twice now. Each time I learn something new. This time I wanted to use basswood and High Density foam (provided by The Cosplay Pros) to reduce the weight of the prop AND add to it's durability/stability.
I started by drawing out the shape of the hilt and handle on 600mm High Density EVA foam. I used a LONG, SHARP Utility blade to cut out the shape. This left me with a few misshapen sides and some unequal proportions (ALWAYS CUT OUTSIDE YOUR LINES WITH FOAM). Since I cut outside the lines I was able to used a dremel to sand down the foam until all sides matched and were even height, width and roundness.
With the hilt and handle ready I took a 36" piece of basswood that was 4" wide and cut away two triangles on the bottom to form a tip. Next I cut a DEEP slit into the middle of my foam hilt and slid the basswood in between (think a foam and basswood sandwich). I applied layers of super glue gel to secure the basswood to the foam. Once it was fully cured I used my rotary tool to cut and sand away any excess wood/foam until all areas were uniform. Since this was a foam/wood sandwich there were some seam lines on the side of the sword. I used Kwik Seal (yes, the plumbing caulk) to fill in the gaps and allowed it to cure for 2 hours.
Once the blade, hilt and handle were fully secured I used Worbla to add details to the hilt. I also used Worbla and 2mm foam to create a unique pommel a the top.
With structural elements out of the way it was on to painting! I used black Plasti-Dip to create a uniform color across the whole sword. Next, I painted the blade silver using a mirror finish paint by Rustoleum.
For the hilt and handle, I hand painted with acrylics (3 coats for each section). Finally, I sealed the entire sword with Matte Mod Podge Spray Sealant.
Last, but not least, I hot glued gems on.
(NOTE: Some gems fell off. I have since glued most on with Gorilla Glue Super Glue Gel.)
Step 5: Accessories - Headpiece and Jewelry
The headpiece was rather simple. I used some spare headbands and hot glued them together. For the gold circles I used glitter gold craft foam and some feather trim. The feather trim was sandwiched in between foam circles to help with the strength of the feathers. Resin gems were glued onto the glitter foam.
The glass gems and chains were recycled from old jewelry. I used earring clasps and pliers to put things together. I intend to buy some more loose glass gems to add to this "belt".
Step 6: Results and Lessons Learned
I could not be more pleased with how this came out. I only had ONE WEEK to make this due to illness and the results were spectacular considering. I do have some things I would like to change such as...
- The fullness of the skirt
- Re-making the corset (use an old corset and up-cycle it)
- Checking the strength of all the gems
- Re-make the bracers (the vinyl was too old and gave me trouble)
Other than that this was actually VERY comfortable to wear. I was SO HAPPY with the puffy sleeves. Spandex is notoriously difficult to create gravity defying affects with so it worked out wonderfully.
For those wondering where I acquired my breast form you can check it out HERE. I am a rather small chested woman (all my curves are in my buttocks) so I like to play with shapes for costumes and push the boundaries of reality. Plus...anime boobs are INSANELY unrealistic lol.
I intend to post some updates after I alter a few things. NEVER be afraid to make improvements to your costumes! a BIG THANK YOU to The Cosplay Pros for sponsoring a lot of the foam materials for this build. If you haven't checked them out please do so!