WHY I CHOSE TO MAKE THIS COSTUME
When deciding to make my first costume (and my first dress!), I wanted to choose a character on my cosplay wishlist who didn’t look too simple, but wasn’t also challenging to the point that I would have given up in the middle of making it. I’ve always admired Doll since she debuted in Volume 6 of the “Black Butler” manga, and roses are my favorite flowers, so I was a sucker for her costume design. Over the years, I’ve always been called “a doll” or “doll-like” by others, and I really connected with Doll’s naive and overly-trusting personality. So, I took the plunge and chose Doll for my first cosplay.
HOW I MADE THIS COSTUME
Doll took 2 months to make. I did not use any patterns, and improvised by looking at the clothes in my closet and watching lots of Youtube tutorials. I started with her collar, which was the easiest part of her costume to make, and because I was a noob, I spent a whole day figuring out how to cut pieces of fabric, and sewing buttons and lace. Her dress was made out of same white kona cotton I used for the collar, and the bodice is boned with spiral steel bones. Beneath the skirt was lots and lots of white tulle, and the petal-like hem of her skirt has a white rose trim hand-sewn all along it. The sweetheart neckline of the bodice has beaded applique sewn along it. The back of the dress has grommets hammered into it, and laced like a corset. I also made a sash out of black-and-white striped fabric that’s hand-sewn onto the dress with blind stitches, and on top of the bow, I hand-sewed six roses to form a bouquet sitting upon my waist.
About 144 roses went into this costume! For the headdress, I bought a white beanie, sewed a makeshift eyepatch out of a piece of white kona cotton scrap onto it, made ribbons out of the same fabric, and hand-sewed every single rose onto the beanie. I also hand-sewed roses onto the tulle beneath the top layer of the skirt, and a rose onto the toe of each of the white flats I bought. I also sewed ribbons into the flats, and then sewed them into the tights I wore so that they would remain tied in that criss-crossed appearance. The garters were also made out of white kona cotton, and I made ruffles out of scraps.
THOUGHTS ON THIS COSTUME
I am so, so, so proud of this as my first costume. Throughout my teen years, I had always wanted to cosplay. I had opportunities to go to anime conventions with friends and my high school’s anime club, but I never went because I felt that I wouldn’t have fun unless if I cosplayed. I also wanted to make my own cosplay, because I love the feeling of pride that stems from working on your own creation. But because I never had the time, money, nor resources when I was younger, I never did. With Doll, I finally achieved the dream of being able to do so. When I debuted this at my very first anime convention, Kraken Con Fall 2015, I was just overwhelmed with all the positive reception. People were calling me “Doll,” and kept coming up to me for photos all day long. I remember one girl running up to me exclaiming, “Doll! OMG, can I get a picture with you? You’re my FAVORITE character from Black Butler!” And one woman told me, “You’re the prettiest Doll I’ve seen!” I was also incredibly honored that I won the Best Novice trophy at the costume contest at the end of the day. It could have gone to any other talented cosplayer, but hearing one of the judges saying how blown away she was made me so proud. Even though my techniques and skills for my Doll costume are very amateurish, there was a steep learning curve, and the experience reinforced my love for cosplay and costume design. I truly felt that my teenage dreams of cosplaying finally came true, and was the beginning of more wonderful cosplaying experiences to come!