Claymore is a manga and anime that I hold very close to my creative heart. It's beautiful, full of powerful women and the artwork is mesmerizing. I have long wanted to build a costume based off of a Claymore and I did just that earlier this year. Here is what I built for my Claymore:
- A custom white shirt
- A custom pair of white leggings
- Custom silver boot covers with heel armor
- Custom Bracers with inlaid design elements
- A custom gorget (first time making one of these)
- Custom BIG pauldrons for the shoulders
- A back cape
The sword was not made by me but I will go into detail on where to get it and how to customize it in this tutorial. I also only purchased and styled the wig, it was not a hand sewn weft endeavor (I am not fond of wig craft). Here are the materials I used for this build...
- A Heat Gun
- Contact Cement (DAP! Weldwood)
- Utility Knives
- Exacto Knife
- Spray Paint (I prefer Krylon ColorMax)
- Sealant (Triple Thick Lacquer Spray and Wood Glue)
- Industrial Strength Double Sided Velcro
- Hot Glue
- Sewing Machine (thread, needles, etc.)
- Stretch Polyester Fabric
- 4 Way Stretch Metallic Silver Spandex
- An old pair of shoes with a heel
- Fabric Markers
- Measuring Tape
- Yard Stick
- EVA Foam (for armor)
Let's get started!
Step 1: Shirt & Leggings
I used a Kwik Sew Body Suit pattern as the base for my Shirt and Leggings. I traced the pattern out onto some pattern ease (a pattern making material, you can use paper or spare fabric as an alternative) then marked where my belly button was and cut it in half. From there I traced the halves onto my white fabric and made the following changes...
- I added about 2.5 inches to the front of the shirt then angled it so it would have a point like the Claymore shirts do.
- I added 4.5 inches to the top of the leggings so I could use 2" elastic in the band.
I cut two of each then sewed them together following the directions on the pattern. From there I tried on the pattern without sleeves/hems and found the fit to be a bit loose. After some tailoring I was able to add the sleeves and test the fit one more time with success.
Next I measured my neck circumference, added 1.5 inches (so I could get my head through the stretchy polyester fabric) and made it 5 inches tall. I folded it in half (hot dog style) then placed it on the front of the shirt and pinned it to the collar opening. I sewed it together with my machine then tested the fit.
If you are not comfortable with sewing a shirt or pants you could buy white leggings instead and use a LONG turtle neck, white shirt then cut and angle in the front and shorten the back to achieve the same look in a shorter amount of time.
Step 2: Cape & Boot Covers
For the cape I used a half circle skirt pattern, drew it onto my white fabric, then found the middle of the "waistband" and drew where my neck would rest so that it had a little half moon at the top then two sharp edges. I cut one of the white fabric then pulled out my gray fabric and cut one of that as well. I placed the pieces together and sewed down the edges and bottom, leaving the top open. I flipped the fabric inside out, folded the top in then hemmed a 1/2" along all sides so there were clean edges. From there I added industrial strength velcor using hot glue to the corners of the top. I placed the cap on my shoulders and used Fabric Markers to mark where the velcro landed on my shoulders for the shirt so I could add the opposing velcro side. After adhering the velcro partner I tried on the cape with success!
For the boot covers I put on my base shoes (an old pair of boots), wrapped my right leg in saran wrap from just under the knee to the top of my foot. I then used strips of painter's tape and masking tape to cover the saran wrap. I drew on the boot cover pattern then added a side seam and cut myself out of the pattern where the seam lined up.
I transferred the masking/painter's tape pattern to 4 way stretch metallic fabric then added 1.5" to the bottom of the foot for seam allowance. I sewed the side down to the foot then I proceeded to fold the bottom of the pattern in as I stretched the fabric over the shoe and glued it on with high temperature hot glue.
Once glued on I added elastic to the top of the boot and the covers were complete. For less permanent covers you can add elastic to the bottom of the pattern is slide it on over your shoes.
Step 3: Gorget & False Hip Armor
I had never created a gorget before so I used THIS template as a starting point. I drew it onto some foam and tested the fit. I found it to be too bulky with foam so I transferred the design to some fabric and discovered it was far more comfortable. I cut one gray side out then a smaller, inlaid black and sewed them together. I drew the Claymore pattern on with a high metallic sharpie (I would suggest fabric paint instead) and used the velcro at the back to secure the Gorget around my neck.
The Claymore characters have this weird, useless hip armor at the front of their pelvises. It's very cumbersome and foam nor plastic was comfortable to use so I decided to take my metallic fabric and use it as the armor instead. I measured the location with some measuring tape, transferred the design to the back side of my silver fabric and cut two of each design on opposing sides. I then backed them with gray fabric and attached velcro to the top so I could secure them to my leggings. This wound up being an excellent and far more comfortable idea.
Step 4: Bracers & Pauldrons
For my bracers I used my usual method of measuring my...
- Arm Circumference below the elbow
- Wrist circumference
- Hand circumference (so I can slide them over my hands)
- Arm length from elbow to wrist
I took this math and drew out my pattern and ended up with two rhombus like shapes. I glued them together at the back using contact cement then used the same measurements to create the detailing. I also used an exacto blade and some heat from my heat gun to add an embossed look and to curve the bracers into shape.
The pauldrons were tough. I layed down on a piece of foam and traced from my neck to my shoulder and a little down my arm. From there I drew the pattern onto the foam and tested a few times with old foam before achieved the right height and width. I used contact cement to seal the two halves together for each pauldron and followed the same exacto/heat gun method from my bracers for embellishments and curve.
Next I sealed them in Plasti-Dip, painted them with High metallic paint and sealed them with wood glue.
Once the armor was painted I added velcro to the pauldrons to keep them in place on my shirt as the foam I used was very light weight.
Step 5: Sword and Completion
The sword was simple. I purchased a Cold Steel Polypropylene sword in black then painted it using model and spray paints. I sealed it with a lacquer and took it to con knowing it would be con safe as the edges are dull.
I've quite enjoyed wearing this costume. It's lightweight and very durable. In total this build cost me around $30 in fabric, $20 in foam, $20 in spray paint, $20 for the sword, $20 for the wig and $10 for the spandex. That makes a grand total of about $120 which is pretty inexpensive as far as cosplay goes.
That's the end of my build walk through. Much of what I have learned over the years I gathered from a site called COSPLAY TUTORIAL. They have lists of tutorials ranging from armor to sewing to prop fabrication.
Feel free to ask questions and happy crafting!