My name is Mandy, I go by “AmazonMandy” online! I’ve been cosplaying since 2004, and I run a business full time sewing custom costumes and gowns for anyone who wants one! The completed photos for this post were taken by Robby Idol Photography.
I wanted to share the full process of how I constructed one of my latest costumes, an original based on a gorgeous piece of fanart I found: Utena Tenjou from Revolutionary Girl Utena, as drawn by KairiH. I love how many details she added, it’s a beautiful mix of Utena’s dueling uniform, her movie costumes, and adds feminine flare and details at the same time. I wanted to make it the second I saw it!
For the base of the costume and the jacket, I went with Mood’s beautiful Italian Ivory Solid Wool Twill. It’s a thick yet soft twill, perfect for a uniform or military style piece of clothing! It took a few tries with scrap pieces of fabric before stitching together the basic shape of the jacket!
For the sleeves, I used the same twill and painters masking tape to mask off the dash pattern. I mixed acrylic paint with fabric medium, and using a stencil brush I gently added the pattern onto the fabric before sewing them together.
For the collar, I debated changing the trim over to tassels, but after doing a mock up I didn’t like it and went back to the ball trim!
For the underbust bodice, gloves, collar, and shorts, I used a patterned black fabric, silver velvet ribbon trim on the sides and decorated the top with hand stitched on vine trim. I used gold grommets to match the jewelry, and hand stitched on gold rope and hand painted shank buttons as decoration.
Now onto the epaulettes! I hand painted plastic domes with thick corrugated cardboard on the bottom. On the bottom, I hot glued on 1.5” velcro , which would attach to velcro sewn onto the shoulders of my jacket. I added on some gems to the outside using Gem-Tac, it’s perfect for attaching smooth-backed gems that other glues can’t grab onto!
For the fitted white top underneath the bodice, I went with white stretch cotton sateen, and sewed it into a simple tube top to peek out! I also went with white silk chiffon for to trim out the collar, and to hang in loose drapes around the waist.
For all of the jewelry, I batched together gems, empty brooches, and necklaces I painted & repurposed! I used that Gem Tac again to secure them all into place, as well as to add pins to the back to attach onto clothes.
For my socks, I used Mood’s Max-Dri Wicking Anti Microbial Performance Spandex which is really nice for socks!
And finally, for my sword, I cut and reused a sword from an old, retired costume. I made all of the ornate vines, roses, and hand guard out of Worbla, and Sculpey, then sanded, primed, and painted.
Hopefully seeing a bit of my own process when tackling a costume makes it less intimidating for those of you who want to get into cosplay, but feel overwhelmed with it! Remember, everything I’ve made (hundreds of custom costume & gown orders) has all been a part of me learning through trial and error, I have never had true formal training in sewing. I still make mistakes, and that’s okay! Try, try again!
If you tackle your project one piece at a time, you can make anything!