Kelvena - Xenogears
Debut: Anime USA 2006
Cost of materials: $250
Awards: Best Overall Craftsmanship, Anime USA 2006 Masquerade
I really love the game Xenogears, and Kelvena is a very interesting character. She is soft, feminine, and carries herself with extreme care and wisdom. She appears calm and steadfast, yet she has extremely powerful and turbulent psychokinetic powers, and is forced to keep her eyes closed to fully control them.
Plus, I haven't seen anyone cosplay the Elements, so I thought I'd take a shot. I had around 4-5 good pictures of her, but they were all very different - many of them being concept art and not the final drawing. So, along with drawing my own concept pictures based on the official artwork and the in game sprite, I also had to make my own patterns for her weird neck collar/over skirt/vest thing, skirt panels, and arm guards...which are all really weird.
It took about 8 weeks of handsewing, hot gluing, Sculpey-ing and applique using Heat 'n Bond to get this one right. I used a gymnastic leotard for the base of the outfit, which I had to alter at the armholes in order to get it to the right shape. White stretch ponte and a pattern was used for the skirt. Plain blue cotton and batting were used for the skirt panels, and I embroidered the lines on each of them. The same process was used for the two ceil blue panels on the over skirt/vest piece. I drafted the pattern for the whole collar/vest piece, which consists of white stretch ponte, ceil blue cotton, light blue stretch twill, white lining fabric, and blue ribbon. The green jewels were made of Sculpey and glued onto the leotard and the back of the collar. The headband was re-covered in the light blue twill and decorated with pieces made of Sculpey.
The armguards were very interesting to make. I ended up using a sleeve pattern for a medieval bridal dress and leaving a lot of room at the top for the foamie inserts. After cutting out the pattern of ceil blue cotton, I cut out the approximate shape I needed for the arm guards. I glued fabric onto the back of the foam and then glued on ribbons to make up the inside of the guard. On the outside of the foam, I glued batting down in several layers to make the raised parts and then covered it with the sleeve fabric. Using ceil blue piping and blue bias tape, I filled in the border design and covered the inside rim. The fleur-de-lis was made by cutting out each separate part and Heat 'n Bonding them to the blue backpiece, which was then glued to a piece of batting and glued onto the arm guard. Zippers were sewn into the sleeves for easy access, and the wrist was decorated with fabric cut outs Heat 'n Bonded to the sleeve.
The boot covers were my first ones ever, and I am quite proud of them. I used ceil blue cotton for the base, blue cotton for the chevron design, clear vinyl for the bottom covering of the boot toe, blue ribbon to tighten the cover underneath the boot, and a blue zipper up the back of the boot. These were also the first thing I worked on for the costume, and it was quite an adventure to create them! The white gloves, petticoat, and wig were all purchased.
I will have to say, the more I wear this costume, the more it becomes my favorite overall. It's very easy to wear, and I love the colors and the feel of the outfit. I always have fun when I'm wearing it!
Picture Credits: Eurobeat King, Refractor Productions, David Dunn, PopeCerebus