Friday, April 2, 2010

Suh Wang Mo...and it begins...

This was a last minute, spur of the moment, "look at how shiny this costume is!" decision. I was looking at someone's cosplay of Soah from Bride of the Water God and was toying with the idea of adding that costume to my repertoire. Then, I did the dumbest thing I could have done...I went on China-Cart. ~headdesk~ So...many...shinies.... Now, I'm adapting that costume to suit Suh Wang Mo, the mother of Mui, the main character from the manga. For accuracy's sake, I found a panel in the manga in which she's wearing a similar outfit, so now I can definitely claim it! :D All hanfu is pretty much the same basic formula anyway...big skirt, kimono style cross-over, lots of sashes, lots of shinies. :p



I'm going to stick with the colours of the china-cart dress since they're quite pretty and, well, I like red and gold. ^^ Anyway, the dress itself should go pretty quickly, and I'll get to break in my new embroidery machine! :D

I've started with the headdress. I'm making it out of 2mm fun foam. All the details are painted on with dimensional paint (puffy paint!), then the pieces were sealed with polyurethane and spray painted with gold enamel. In the last picture, the headdress is at about 75% finished.
Progress:



As far as the gown is concerned, I started out by researching traditional hanfu, how it's constructed, how to cut it out, etc. And then I took a step back from the computer, had a bit of tea, and said to myself, "This is an anime costume...why am I getting my panties in a bunch trying to make it historically accurate?" So, I dove in and started hacking at fabric and bending it to my will. The bottom is a large circle skirt and the top was cut out using a kimono top pattern. The dress is at about 25% finished. ^^; Progress:



I'm trying to decide whether or not to keep the small hoop that I have under it in the pics. I'll see how I feel about it when the other layers on are.

2 comments:

  1. Hi! First, your dress and your headdress are absolutely fabulous! You've done an exquisite job!

    I have some questions about your headdress. Indeed I have an asiatic LARP in august, and, like you, I've found the china cart website ^^ Prices are way too much expensive so I decided to do one of their headdress by myself (not the same as yours).

    Could I have some more explanations about your headdress and how you've made it? I'm very interested in the foam you've used, what kind is it? What brand did you used for the "puffy paint"?

    I'm sorry for all my questions, but the job you've done is really fabulous and I really would like to do mine as beautiful as your.

    I'm sorry to post all that on here, I did not find your contact. :)

    Thank you!
    Angelina

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  2. No problem, I'm happy to help!

    The foam I bought is the regular craft foam that's carried at most places like Hobby Lobby, Michael's, Joann's, etc. They have it in sheets and, in some places, large rolls. I used the 2mm thick kind for this headdress, but it comes in all different thicknesses, up to 6mm. If you need it thicker, you can usually find it from online dealers in thicknesses up to 1".

    I didn't really develop a pattern for the headdress. I sat down in front of my computer screen and visually dissected the pieces so I could figure out what needed to be made. Since the headdress was symmetrical, I could make the right side, flip it over, and trace it for the left. That way, both sides ended up looking the same.

    The puffy paint was...well...I have no idea what brand it was. lol It was the cheap stuff they have at Wal-Mart, the small bottles with the applicator tip. You could probably use any sort of puffy paint and get the same results. It's usually labeled 'dimensional paint', and is thicker than most paints so it keeps its shape.

    After I had cut out all my pieces, I added some jewelry wire to the back of each piece so I could bend them into shape. This also gave the headdress a bit more durability and structure, since I didn't want the pieces flopping around or the headdress losing its shape. You'll want to add the wire and shape your pieces before you seal your foam, so the sealant doesn't develop any cracks. If you seal it first and then add the wire, the pieces may develop cracks from being shaped. I was absent minded and did that, and ended up with cracks in the varnish of several of my pieces. Thankfully, it those parts seemed to be hidden by other pieces of the headdress.

    Once you have your pieces cut out, you'll want to seal them, since foam is porous and will soak up the paint like a sponge. You can either seal them with something like Mod Podge, or you can use polyurethane, which will make the foam a bit more rigid, as well. You should do your detail work with the dimensional paint after sealing the foam, but before painting it with your final colour. That way your final product is a uniform colour.

    I used hot glue to put everything together, but since you're dong a LARP event, which I assume is outdoors, and it will be August, I'd go with something else, like e6000 or Mod Podge, to glue your pieces together. Hot glue has a low melting point, and it WILL melt in the heat of the outdoors. You won't have the instant gratification of being able to work on your headdress all at once with those other glues, the way you would with hot glue, but it will be more durable and will probably hold up allot longer.

    I hope all that helps! If there's anything else you need help with, please don't hesitate to ask! And, I would LOVE to see pictures of your finished outfit! :D

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