Dirty Pair Flash is an anime from the early 90's that was...well, all around silly and quite enjoyable as long as you did not expect much from it. It was about two young women who were constantly called the "Dirty Pair" (even though their code name was the Lovely Angels) because they were like your dirty pair of socks...not sure whether you want to wash them or throw them out.
Anyways...background aside this costume was a bit of a struggle for me. I could not find patterns that worked so I had to make ALL of them. I could not find white boots that were not exorbitantly pricey so I HAD to make them. I could not seem to even find a kids toy sword that looked similar to the character's so I HAD to alter a light saber and do some really funky stuff to it. Ok, Summary: I HAD TO MAKE EVERYTHING EXCEPT THE WIG. That being said, let's recap what was made and provide all you fine folk with some ideas/techniques to tackle your own builds...
- Dark Blue Bodysuit
- Red and White Bolero with Gold Trim
- White Thigh High Boots
- White and Gold Skirt
- Red Glove
- Blue Hair Bow
- Light Sword
- Mini Hand Gun
- Blue Choker
Let's get started!
Step 1: Thigh High Boot Covers
I am not a boot cover master. That being said, I am pretty good at patterning. Here is what you will need in supplies...
- White Pleather (I used 2 yards)
- White Thread
- Sewing Machine
- Seam ripper (just in case)
- A Pair of white shoes/heels
- Saran Wrap
- Masking OR Duct OR Painter's Tape
- A Marker
- Hot Glue OR Contact Cement OR E6000
- Fabric Scissors
- LOTS OF PATIENCE!!!!!
To begin, take the pair of shoes you have an clean them up. For instance, I had a short pair of white boots. I removed the excess fabric from the boot (the fabric that went to mid calf) so I was left with something like a high heel. If you are using heels OR slippers or ANY shoe without excess fabric you should be good to go!
Place the shoe on your foot then, with OR without help (help makes this MUCH easier), wrap your leg in saran wrap up to the point where the boot will end then a little higher for seam allowance. Once you are wrapped in saran wrap begin wrapping your leg in tape. NOTE: DO NOT WRAP IN LONG STRIPS! This will shrink the pattern. Instead, take 4-5 inch strips of tape off and lay them over your leg gently. Cover the saran wrap in tape. Now that your ENTIRE leg (including the foot) is wrapped and taped draw your shoe pattern onto the tape and create seams on the side and/or back of your leg for a zipper (mine was on the inside).
Cut yourself out of the pattern CAREFULLY (again, help is preferred here) and lay your pattern down on the ground. Anywhere you see puckering or in places where the pattern will not lay flat cut a small slit and continue to cut until the pattern lays flat (this is called adding a dart). You should end up with something like images above.
Once your pattern is made you can either begin transferring it to your fabric OR you can do what I do: Transfer it to test fabric OR Muslin and test the fit. Testing the fit ensures you do not waste any of your fabric (pleather is EXPENSIVE). If you are comfortable with the fit then transfer the pattern to your fabric (trace the pattern face up for one leg and then flip it so it is the opposite direction for the other leg). REMEMBER TO REVERSE THE PATTERN FOR YOUR OPPOSING LEG!!! (especially if you have fabric where the pleather is ONLY on one side)
Now pin and test the fit.
Happy with the fit? Great! Take your boot cover and sew it up! NOTE: Take a scrap piece of fabric and test your thread tension/length before sewing. Once sewn you can place your heel/shoe on then lay the boot cover over it (make sure you DO NOT SEW where the zipper should be just yet). If the fit is still good NOW you can add your zipper. If you have a zipper long enough make sure to attach it to your shoe (see images above). If not, no worries! The boot cover will still work.
Now that everything is sewn and you have a zipper installed it's time to attach the cover to your shoe! I used a combination of contact cement and hot glue to adhere the cover to my shoe. First, place the cover on the shoe with pins so you can trim off any excess you may have. With everything fitted, use your adhesive to attach the cover. NOTE: This is a PERMANENT solution. For non permanent visit THIS TUTORIAL.
With everything attached you should have a comfortable and fitted boot cover!
Step 2: Bolero
The bolero/crop top combo jacket that Yuri wears was a bit of a puzzle. This had the structure of a nice, zip up jacket with the collar of a heavy jacket or windbreaker and the bust area of a rounded bolero. For anyone NOT interested in building their own pattern Kwik Sew and Simplicity sell REALLY nice patterns that are VERY similar to this design. Since A LOT of anime characters sport this jacket it's not a bad purchase as the pattern could be reused.
I happened to have a bolero pattern from the 80's but it was just not what I needed. I also have a nice jacket pattern with a cut out top that worked as the base for this pattern. I took the sizing reference from the jacket's top cut out and then added some length to the sleeve holes, the back and cut the front up higher. I created a mock up out of muslin but you could use any old spare fabric as long as it is close to the style of fabric you will be using for your costume.
I pinned the mockup together and discovered it needed more length on the sides, less in the front and I had to take it in more. After a few fittings I was able to get the right look. From there I cut out the interfacing/lining (red because the collar would be flipped and the arms have "faux sleeves" that are red) then I used the interfacing to cut the external fabric (I do this in case my cuts are messy). I sewed the lining to the external fabric then pinned and tested the fit one more time.
ALWAYS TEST YOUR FIT!!!! I cannot stress this more. It's VERY important as it gives you a frame of reference for what needs to be adjusted BEFORE you place permanent stitching. If you do mess up you can always use a seam ripper just know that this can weaken your fabric (especially when using pleather).
For the button I used High Temperature hot glue to attach it to the front. On the inside of the jacket I sewed on velcro then used it to secure the jacket. WHY?? I DON'T LIKE BUTTONS. You are MORE than welcome to create a real button hole I am just no very fond of them so I use zippers, magnets and/or velcro instead.
I purchased gold bias tape (a bit pricey but worth it) at a double wide then lined the edges of the jacket with it. After another test fit the bolero was complete!
- Fiskars Fabric Scissors
- Measuring Tape
- Pattern Ease (to trace the pattern for future reference)
- Hot Glue
- White, Red & Gold Thread
- Gold Button
- Fabric Marker & Chalk
- Sewing Machine (Brother)
- 1 yard of White Pleather
- 1 yard of Red Spandex
- 2.5 yards of Gold Bias Tape
Step 3: Body Suit & Skirt
Now body suits are something I am familiar with. This was actually REALLY easy. I used the base pattern from Kwik Sew K3052 and traced it onto some muslin. From there I pinned the muslin together then flattened the pattern so the center seam was visible. I cut down the sides of the pattern to create new seams, traced the flat pattern onto some spandex, pinned the spandex together and tested the fit (see images 1 & 2). Since I did not want a center seam this was my method but if you do not mind center seams for body suits you do not have to go through all of the trouble I did.
Once I had the side seams right I sewed them up then placed the suit on and pinned the crotch area. WARNING: If you do not like discomfort you may want to ask a friend and/or family member you don't mind being close to your nethers for help. Once pinned I cut the body suit to fit to my curves then added the snaps from a bra back repair kit to secure the crotch. Why? Because I like to use the bathroom EASILY. I learned my lesson with body suits and restrooms a while ago. Now I ALWAYS TRY to include some way of easily using the bathroom in my costumes.
With the body suit complete I took my measurements for my waist, hips and below my bottom. Those measurements (in addition to the skirt length) were used to create a pattern for the skirt. I then pinned the skirt together and placed it on so I could draw where the "peep windows" for the hips were placed. After drawing one window I took the skirt off, cut out the window then folded the skirt in half and traced the other window. Once all items were cut I sewed it all together (there were only two seams - one on each leg) then I added the bias tape as trim and...I added a button hole. Yes, I DESPISE button holes but I have curvaceous hips and I could risk the skirt just popping off in the middle of comicon...thus the horror of a button hole was added. It worked quite well and I was pleased with the result.
Step 4: Wigs and Guns and Laser Swords, Oh My!
The wig I used was from Arda Wigs. I purchased it during Cyber Monday and received 70% off!! Styling the wig was simple. I took a scrap piece of blue fabric, braided the sides of the wig, added a rubber band, then tied the scrap fabric over the rubber band in a windsor knot. I then slathered the wig in hair spray and gave it a thorough brushing.
For my gun I took a 99 cent orange kid's toy and painted it black. I added a rare earth magnet to it then sewed a magnet to the back of my skirt so I had a place to keep the gun when I did not feel like carrying it.
The sword was tricky. I intend to remake it but in the interim I took a $5 light saber, flattened it with a heat gun (after removing the LEDs), altered the power source, cut away the handle, rebuilt it partially with thermoplastic and partially with foam then covered it in strong construction paper to smooth out the handle. After a layer of Plasti-Dip and some Blue Spray Paint the sword looked just as I needed it to.
For the glove I traced my hand on spandex, added half and inch for seam allowance then sewed the glove together and tried it on. I have VERY small hands so I prefer to make my own gloves. Spandex is VERY forgiving if you make mistakes and it's easy to fix on the fly.
Step 5: Completion
Here is the completed look!
It took about 55-60 hours to make when all was said and done. Most of my time was spent on the boots and jacket.
If you have questions please feel free to visit my website: www.thermocosplay.net OR check out my crazy costume endeavors on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram by searching for ThermoCosplay.