Lightning - Final Fantasy XIII

Debut: Otakon 2010

Cost of materials: $285

Awards: Best Master Class, Anime USA Hall Contest 2010

Final Fantasy XIII was one of those games I hated at first. All the hype about it was irritating and everyone saying Lightning was a female version of Cloud really didn't do much for me. But when my husband bought it and we started playing it, I grew to like it...a lot. The graphics were incredible, the music was amazing, and even though the characters were pretty poorly developed in the beginning, I started to love them. Lightning, Fang and I share a lot of personality traits and they are the strongest female characters I've come across that I can relate to directly. I was so happy to work on this costume, and hopefully I can make Fang in the future!

This costume...this costume took me a solid month of work and I'm so proud of it! I think it's the best costume I've sewn to date in fact!! Where to start? The under shirt was an ivory ribbed knit that I dyed brown, then pleated and pressed to get the chunky ribbed collar. I sewed in the separating zipper and made the zipper pull. I purchased the necklace pendant and attached to a ball chain.

The overshirt is heavy white twill with a tan twill lining made to measure. Pockets are dark tan twill with extra large grommets set in and are functional. All the buckles are made from craft foam or Fimo and painted silver. The cape is red gabardine and is sewn onto the shirt underneath the vinyl harness, which features curtain ring/craft foam details and rivets. The main belt is tan whisper vinyl that snaps into place with decorative belt buckle (too much stress for the craft foam!).

The skirt is some left over flannel that I had lined in cotton with functional zippers and a hidden front zipper. The waistband is hand-painted leather, grommets and leather lacing. Zipper pulls were custom made. Belt is ochre vinyl and the buckle is cardboard that I glued onto an existing belt buckle. Leg pouch and belts are burgundy vinyl with zippers and custom made zipper pulls. This was probably the hardest part - it took me a whole day to make it!!

I purchased some basic black boots on Ebay and cut off the legs, then hand sewed the hand-painted leather tongue and leg to each boot, then affixed the side and heel details. Belts are made from grey vinyl and the soles were painted grey to match.

The black glove is just black spandex, but the blue gloves are vintage leather gloves that I purchased from Ebay. I then cut the fingers and sewed the hems, and sewed in the piping and wrist hem. Knuckles are made from plastic pens, cardboard, craft foam, electrical wire and googly eyes and painted gold. Wrist wraps are grey vinyl. The armbands are leather, hand painted black/brown, then sewn and woven together.

The pauldron is cardboard cut to shape and darted, then covered in lots of paper mache and about 12 layers of gesso, then sanded baby smooth, painted, and weathered. The vinyl tubing is painted yellow and has el wire inserted for the glow effect. The bottom portion is cardboard, paper mache, and puffy paint for the details. I looked at every single picture possible, but still couldn't decipher what her pauldron says (I think it's nothing, really), so I just wrote her name onto it...kinda like a dog tag of sorts. The pauldron snaps onto the shirt via hand painted leather straps that are riveted to the pauldron.

The wig was originally a Clover wig in blonde that I custom dyed to get a multicolor pink. And I spent a whole day cutting it to the appropriate layers!!! I did have the l'Cie mark under the shirt that I made using waterslide tattoo paper. It worked so well and I was really happy with how the tattoos looked.

Whew!! I can't say enough just how pleased I am with this costume and how absolutely enamored I am with our Final Fantasy XIII group!!! It was so amazing to become these characters for a little bit. A big huge thank you to Pixiekitty as Vanille and NeonGenocide as Snow for roping me into their group! I had such a great time working with them and having fun in our costumes ^__^

P.S. Oh yeah!! I didn't realize my mustache was getting out of control. It's a good thing I had some people point it out to me so I could finally take care of it!!

Picture Credits: David Dunn, LJinto, MindFall, Eurobeat King, P Karpey Photography

�2012 D^2 and FireLilyCosplay