Nanai - Avalon Code
Debut: Anime Mid-Atlantic 2011
Cost of materials: $160
When I first saw the illustrations for Avalon Code, I was taken aback at how similar they were to VanillaWare. And after playing the game, I knew I had to make at least a few of the costumes! Nanai was so pretty - a gypsy witch hailing from the desert and leader of the Southern School of Flight, who teaches our hero how to use daggers in combat.
There are soooooo many details in this costume!! The top, skirt, collar and ankle capes are made of black gabardine suiting, lined in cotton, and feature top-stitched borders and 78 hammered grommets. The anklets close with hooks and eyes, the collar with 3 snaps, the skirt with an invisible zipper, and the top closes using hooks and eyes and snaps onto a strapless bra. The shoe covers, arm bands and sleeves are black poly knit and feature 72 hand-sewn eyelets.
The cloak and head kerchief are the wrong side of blue microsuede and feature gold designs of crepe back satin Heat 'n Bonded and satin-stitched on. The border around the cloak designs is hand-painted with gold acrylic. The kerchief also has fringe and beading along the back edge and gold chain with painted diamond charms along the front. The cloak is a full circle cloak 5 yards around and has a large Lothlorian style hood. It clasps in the front using a toggle clasp and painted cross and ball beads.
The necklace was originally a clear jewel that I painted blue using glass stain, then I affixed the chain with beading wire and a gold setting. There are several bracelets I had to make. The easiest was just a coil of gold wire that I wrapped on two sides with itself. The cross bracelet is cardboard wrapped in batting, covered with green taffeta and then I glued on gold painted cross beads. The gold cuff is craft foam and wire. The two dangle bracelets and anklet are cord-filled red velvet tubes with gold pendants made from Sculpey tied on using green yarn. The rings are lucite plastic rings painted gold, one of which was sanded flat and affixed with a blue gem.
The main belt is the wrong side of the light brown vinyl I used for the other belts. The X designs are silver taffeta sewn on and set with black beads in the center of each. I purchased a large 3" brass buckle and built up the buckle with layers of cardboard and paint. The "saddle bags" as I like to call them are two belts of light brown vinyl sewn onto a belt of heavy black cotton that closes in the front using hooks and eyes (the main belt covers this belt). The brown belts have scalloped and heavily interfaced designs sewn on top. There are two glass jars attached: One clear jar with sand I poured into it and one small round jar that I painted red and coated with polyurethane. The bag is a sand colored cotton with light brown vinyl bottom and edging and leather lace drawstring. The small pouch is light brown vinyl with cardboard inserts and buckle attached.
The shovel is a little plastic shovel that I painted brown and silver and tied onto the large pouch, which is made of brown vinyl lined in brown cotton. The scrolls are coated packing paper soaked in tea and broiled in my oven, with burnt edges and holes for effect. The scroll holder is cardboard wrapped in batting, covered in white twill with handmade green cotton bias tape sewn on. The gold slide buckle is painted cardboard. The garter is red cotton knit featuring top-stitching. I purchased a wig from Cosworx in Henna Red and didn't need any styling.
This is definitely one of the most involved costumes I've ever worked on. The cloak alone took 30 hours of work, the head kerchief took around 10, the grommets and hand-sewn eyelets took around 15 or so, so I was VERY invested in this costume! I absolutely love it, though, and I can't wait to wear Nanai again!!
Picture Credits: David Dunn