Monday, September 19, 2016

Presea - Boots, Gloves & Armour - Tales of Symphonia

Salutations! After years on the shelf, I would like to continue to take a look at how I made my Presea costume! Look here for a blast from the past: how I made the Dress and Wig! Seriously, I was posting about this in 2013 what-the-heckaroonie.

Getting this costume photoshoot worthy and documented is one of my 2016 goals and I'm pleased to say that with the costume and photoshoot done I can now finish documenting how I made it. From the depths of my computer hard-drive I have salvaged ye ancient progress photos.

Possibly the most challenging part of this costume and the main reason I put this costume on hiatus for a whole year (the other reason being my dog ate the tip off my battleaxe). This was my first time making boots, gloves and armour, and to be honest I had no idea what I was doing! I didn't get very far before I gave up. When I came back to this project a year later it was after I had done the armour for my Asuna costume and had much more sewing/patterning experience.

I started by buying and deconstructing a pair of well fitting costume gloves, from this I was able to make my own glove pattern. I made it go extra wide further up the arm so that it would be loose at the cuff.

My main problem was that the character's gloves are above the elbow, but loose fitting, meaning they essentially float there defying the laws of physics. My trouble was making them stay up without any seriously visible rigging...

It took hours of hand stitching to assemble those gloves. Above is the separate thumb piece which was slotted into the glove.

Left is my first attempt at making the boot covers, as you can see the cuff looks kind of wonky... Partially due to my inexperience working with stretch fabrics. This is where I stopped working on them for a year.
I patterned my boots to cover a cheap pair of canvas shoes I picked up at Ardenes. Above is the toe cover, left is the 2nd attempt at the boot cover. (from the inside)

I opted this time to do a fold-over cuff, which looked much cleaner, even though it isn't as accurate to the original design.
I replicated the cuffs on the gloves.

I marked where the shoe cover would be sewn to the shoes, then I hand stitched the two together. It took a while, but the result was a nice clean finished edge.
Then I sewed elastics to the inside so that the loose gloves and boots would stay up. These had to be far enough away from the edge so that they would be hidden inside. How I made the cuffs stay up was I sewed some short pieces of wire into the boot cover where it attached to the cuff.

At one point I had attempted to wire the whole boot, but I found it a) really uncomfortable, b) hard to keep it secure and c) it would be harder to pack into a suitcase, because the boots would have to remain upright. That and every time the wire got dented they were even more uncomfortable to wear... With the short wires only at the cuffs with fabric casings they were easy to fold up, and didn't cause any discomfort.
Next I got to work on the small bits of armour, following the same method as I did for Asuna. I used the leftover styrene from that costume to construct the toe and hand guards.

First I made paper patterns of the shapes I wanted, then traced them and cut them out. There were 8 pieces total. Compared to Asuna's this armour was total cakewalk.
I then made the raised bits out of craft foam, and hot glued them on.

I used the same spray paint treatment as Asuna's: primer, matte black, then silver.

I weathered with sandpaper, glued all the pieces together, then aged them with black dry-brushing.
Lastly, the shoe armour was hot glued to the boots (while I was wearing them, so the armour placement would be correct). Then I rigged the hand guards with some elastic so they would be easy to take on and off. I painted the elastic grey so it would match the gloves.

Overall this project really benefitted from me not rushing to finish it the first year and instead applying another years' worth of experience to finish the job.

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