Friday, September 19, 2014

Serah Farron Final Fantasy XIII Cosplay Tutorial

Hello everyone!
I recently had my very first cosplay experience, it was as Serah Farron from FFXIII and it was super fun!
This is going to be a very long post detailing my journey and how I made all the components of my costume.
Before I get into all the details, here is what the finished product ended up looking like:
Makeup Tutorial:

Serah Farron and Snow Villiers Cosplay

Ever wonder what Snow and Serah's baby would look like? Well if it is a daughter maybe something like this:

Alright, now let's get started on the details.
I searched for some tan colored lace up boots and found a relatively cheap pair on eBay. I think they were around $20. I had to switch out the laces for black laces and then painted the portions that needed to be white with Angelus leather paint(even though the boots were not leather) because I heard it really works well and it did! No peeling or crackling, really recommend that paint. I found it pretty cheap on eBay, I think under $5.
 Don't actually recommend using painter's tape as the paint ended up seeping under it. I ended up just free handing it.

 Finished boots:
Bracelet and Hair Tie:
I was a little picky on getting this perfect, I stared and stared at all the pics online of what these look like in the game. Finally I decided on the size and colors of the beads I wanted to use. I bought most of them from eBay, they were Swarovski elements(I think, that is what they were called, but they came from China and were quite cheap so may be knock -offs) and had a huge variety of colors and sizes. I also got a few things from Michaels, like the pearls and silver bead. And luckily I already had wire and other supplies since making jewelry is my hobby.
Here is the result

Serah's engagement necklace and cat earrings:
I used a polymer clay to make these, the brand is called Sculpey III
It is actually a pretty nifty product, I had never used it before. It is a clay, but bakes up to be like plastic, so it is not fragile like regular clay.
I bought some earring backs on ebay and glued those on to the baked and painted cats. I used a glue called E600 fabric something, you will see it in a later pic as I used it for the armband.I also used some jewelry making tools and a little silver hoop to attack the tail. I got some tiny rhinestones from Michaels and stuck those on the tails before I baked. Because they were glass they did not melt or burn. I painted using a chrome spray paint from Kryolan, but would not recommend it as it seemed to never dry even though I waited literally like a month, lol. And even though I tried to amend the situation by painting over it with a clear acrylic gloss it didn't help much and the paint ended up staining my shirt from where the necklace touched it.

For the necklace I made the central stick part and then wrapped a long think rolled piece of clay around it, then used jewelry pliers I had to help me flatten the small parts where I couldn't really do it with my fingers.

 And while we are at it, I also made my "Snow" a necklace and pendant :)

That thing Serah wears on her leg, the diamond shaped shield, I did the following.
Got this Cra*Z*Art Modelite foamy modeling clay, Crayola makes one as well, this was just cheaper.

It is very light weight, so it seemed like a much better option than using something like the polymer clay.
First I made a diamond shape:
Then I rolled a long strip:

And flattened it:
Wrapped it around the diamond:
And cut off the excess:
On the back I stuck one of these pin backs I got from Michaels

 I actually ended up making two, but liked the one on the right best so that is the one I went with.
I takes a long time to dry, so I just left it on my desk for a few days until it got hard.
Then I painted it with acrylic paint and used a glaze on top to make it shiny.
Final result:
For the armband there are lots of great tutorials out there, I just followed one I found on youtube. I do have a few pointers though that will help.
So the tutorial involved cutting little rectangular strips of faux leather and gluing them together. At first I used a super glue by Gorilla brand, but it did not work well on the faux leather and I ended up re-gluing using E6000 Fabric fuse and it worked awesome.
For the buttons most people use snaps. The right size snaps were tough to find, neither Michaels or ACMoore had them, but I finally tracked them down at Jo-Ann Fabrics. The little kit with snaps and gizmo to attach them was pricey! Like $18ish. Luckily I printed out a 40% off coupon.
However, was it worth all this trouble? I think not. The snaps are actually pretty useless as snaps because after I attached them and tried to snap closed and then open, it ripped the faux leather, and I had to remake a part of the bracelet. Maybe I just have a flimsy faux leather....
However, I much prefer just sliding the armband on without un-snapping the snaps. So I ended up gluing them on, for decoration only, not as functional snaps.

 Another tip, to get the armband to stay on I sewed some elastic inside of the band. I just made a circle out of an elastic band in a size that stays up well on my arm, then attached it in 2 places inside of the armband.

Now onto the clothes.
The skirt was the easiest because I didn't make it myself :) I got custom printed fabric from spoonflower, someone had one designed for Serah's skirt already on there, and I ordered a yard of not the cheapest but the slightly nicer type cotton. Then I took it to a taylor and paid all sorts of money (man, I wish I was good at sewing) to have her make it. I brought her a picture of the skirt as it looks on Serah, but somehow she still managed to screw it up because the pattern on the very front pleat is not exactly how it should be, it should show the skinnier strip then wider strip then skinnier strip, and on my skirt the send skinny strip is kind of cut off. Or maybe I am just being ridiculously picky.
I saw able to sew the black lace on myself, and will explain a little further down how I made the gold decoration.

Ok, so for the gold part, I made that out of Sculpey III clay, just like the necklace and earrings, except I used gold colored clay.
I stuck a little metal ring in the back of the buttons so I could sew them on(same ring I used on the cat earrings - you can find them at Michael's or ACMoore).
Here it is after I baked it. I also painted it with gold acrylic paint and a shiny glaze before I sewed it onto the skirt.

Now for the shirt. So I didn't think I could actually make a shirt from scratch, instead I looked for an acceptable white shirt that  could alter. I found one on ThredUp(awesome site, sells gently used clothes for cheap, and has a lot more options than my local thrift shops). Shameless plug: use my refferal to get $10 off your first order:
This was the shirt I got, I think for about $7ish

 The first thing I did was remove the buttons, figure out a better placement for the new buttons since Serah only has 5 on her shirt, and sew them on. She has black buttons that are attached by white thread forming an X shape.
Then I used a white hemming I got from Jo-Ann Fabrics to makes the triangular points around the button, it was also handy for covering up the bottom holes in the places I had to remove buttons when I was re-arranging.
The first step was sewing the hemming ribbon/strip on and folding it in such a way that it went in the right direction, like this:
 Note, I folded it, I did not cut it.

 Next I folded the hemming so that the back of it was the part showing, and I sewed a line to sort of from a right angle triangle at the end:
Then I cut off the little piece of hemming to the right on that line.
And when you unfold, viola!
I sewed that onto the shirt, and just kept going in the same manner, around all of the buttons.

For the pink parts on the bottom of her shirt, here is what I did.
First, I used a piece of paper to draw and cut out a shape that worked.
Then I cut that shape out of sheet pink fabric(I used this fabric for the vest as well).
I loosely sewed it on using same white hemming around the edges. Later I sewed it all on for real using a sewing machine(there will be a pic later, together with the vest).

Ok, so for the pink vest I just want to point out that you need to get the right type of fabric(I got the wrong type the first time around). It needs to be sheer like a curtain, not like that weird mesh tutus are made out of.
Left = Correct   Right = Wrong
Why? Well because the fabric on the right looks pink but it is actually pretty much invisible, so unless you want it to look like you are wearing an invisible vest, do not use it.
Look at this pic, I put both fabrics on the white shirt so you could see what it looks like against the white back ground, you can't even see the one on the right.
Ok, so step #1, fold your pink fabric so you have 4 layer (basically fold it in half, and then in half again).
Find something in your wardrobe that you could use to trace that would be roughly the correct shape for the vest, I used this dress.

Fold it in half. I also folded up the bottom a tad, since mine was a dress and longer than I wanted the vest to be.
Cut around it
You should now have 4 pieces of pink fabric, each piece is 1/4 of the vest. The vest is made of 4 panels, the right side front is attached on the side to the right side back, same with left. So the vest is actually 2 pieces, the back is held together by 3 pink bows made out of ribbon and the front is open.
 Sew the panels together and hem the edges. I started out sewing by hand, but it got tedious real quick and I ended up switching to a sewing machine. Also, if you want to go all pyro on the vest, lightly running the edge by an open flame will prevent it from fraying.

Here is the finished shirt and vest. I actually sewed the vest onto the shirt at the top shoulders to prevent it from sliding around or falling off.
For the ribbon, I just used the thinnest pink ribbon I could find, sewed a piece onto each side and tied in a bow.

Other thing I got for the costume that didn't really involve much "making" were the knee high black socks (found them on sockdreams), some thin silver ducktape(for the silver strip on the socks), and the white bandage that Serah wears to cover her L'Cie mark(picked up this from CVS - get the nicer kind and not gauze, it will look better).

Finishing touches were things such as hair and makeup. I actually ordered the Lightning wig from Lucaille and styled it to look like Serah's. I liked the color of it better that is why I did this. The styling really only involved cutting some band and making a ponytail.
Here is what the wig looked like originally:

And after I styled it to look like Serah's

 This pic also shows the contacts I wore, which are the Geo Super Nudy Grey

I will probably make a video tutorial for the makeup as soon as I get the chance on my youtube channel:

 That is all folks! Hope this helps you if you are wanting to cosplay as Serah as well, and if not then hope you at least found this entertaining :)
Thanks for reading!