Years of Cosplay: 7
There is more to a particularly flamboyant costume-play than meets the eye. The sheer elegance and icy noblesse of Astharoshe Asran
reveals more than intrigue and imperial propaganda. The skills involved in finishing up are full with expert knowledge. If you don’t work in the dye industry and if you don’t learn every tailoring technique the hard way – then you will have to talk with VickyBunnyAngel
. She will teach you about cosworx, Sculpey and wonderflex!
Cosplay Gen: What made you choose to portray this particular version of Astharoshe Asran from Trinity Blood?
VickyBunnyAngel: I immediately fell in love with the design of the dress when I came across this image online. I ordered the Trinity Blood Limited Edition DVDs just so I could have a hardcopy of the artwork to look at. As a cosplayer who is generally attracted to obscure characters and designs, the fact that only a few other cosplayers tackled this dress design made me want to do it even more. There is no reference for the bottom of the dress which allowed me to interpret it however I wished and ensured that my Astharoshe would be unique to me.
Cosplay Gen: Can you share with us some information about the dress and how it came to be from sketch to what it is now?
VickyBunnyAngel: This costume took about 3 months for me to complete, and probably 1 month worth of solid labor if you subtract all the other distractions in life (school, work, social life, sleep etc.). My design for the dress consisted of 3 separates: a jacket shrug, the white top, and a blue skirt. I chose to do it this way to make it easy to wear, and the jacket can be taken off if the weather gets too hot. The blue skirt is made from silk crepe that I custom dyed to match the blue fabric paint I used for the white top. I was very obsessed with color matching for this project since I knew I was working with a diverse range of materials which presented a greater chance of different blues. The way a fabric’s texture and color will photograph should always be taken in consideration. I meticulously photographed all my materials using different conditions to ensure that the blues all photographed the same. I even scrapped 7m of expensive blue silk fabric because the color just wasn’t right after I took it home. The white top, jacket and hat are made from the same matte cream rayon crepe. Notice I say cream and not white. Cream/ivory/off-white photograph better than bright whites. This is a tip I’ve learned from working in the dye industry and dealing with clients who have to tint their whites for film, television and photos.
The white top, hat, jacket, gloves and any other hand painted part of this costume were the most time consuming. I drafted my own pattern for the jacket and top using cheap broadcloth. When dealing with expensive fabrics for a costume, it’s always a good idea to do a mock-up with cheap fabric. You will cry less when you make a mistake. I learned this the hard way from a previous costume. I couldn’t start painting until the costume was sewn and tailored perfectly. This may seem like a no-brainer tip, but always press your seams! It’s an integral part of garment finishing. In addition, if you plan on doing painting it helps if the seams lay flat and don’t puff up. The painting took the longest, and I spent 3 weeks worth of pure labor working on every painted aspect of the costume. I freehanded the entire thing and didn’t use a template. First, the design was painted in gold. When that dried, I’d fill in parts of the design with blue. After that dried, I outlined every gold line with a 3D foiling glue that takes several hours to dry. When the foiling glue dries it becomes very tacky and that’s when I pressed gold foil sheets over my lines to make them extra shiny. Unlike most puff and 3D paints I’ve seen that have a dull gold finish; this product gave me an almost mirror-like shine. This made my gold lines pop and added texture to the costume. The fun part was sticking rhinestones everywhere after all the painting and foiling was done.
Cosplay Gen: The wig and the hat look just as extravagant as the dress does, how did you make those?
VickyBunnyAngel: The braided buns are clipped onto a base wig. I created a cone shaped base out of craft foam and then covered that in fabric so I’d have something to sew the wefts into. This allowed me to cheat a bit with the volume and save on buying too many weft extensions. I sewed 4 tails on the inside of the cone, and then braided each tail into 4 braids. I brought these braids out from inside the cone and began weaving them outside of the cone. As I wove the braids I had some needle and thread on hand to stitch them in place. I used a total of 3 packs of cosworx’s wefted extensions to create the two buns. I sewed a hair clip on the inside of the buns so I could attach them to my head.
The brim of the hat is made from wonderflex. It’s what I had on hand, but I’m sure any rigid material like buckram will do. Although using wonderflex guaranteed that it would travel well in my squished suitcase and still keep its shape. I covered the wonderflex base with my cream rayon and hand painted it like I did the rest of the dress. The feathered accessory in the middle was made from Sculpey, and I stuck a large smooth pebble in the middle. Then I embellished it with 3D gold foil to bring all these elements together. The top of the hat features a quilted blue cushion I made, but too bad no one really sees it.