Photographer: Toshi Studios, Edited by Carmilla Jo
Photographer: Derrick Au, Edited by Carmilla Jo
Photo feature in SFGate
Note: Photos still in the process of editing, and to be added.
WHY I CHOSE TO MAKE THIS COSTUME
Because Comic Con tends to attract top-notch cosplayers, I really wanted to challenge myself on a new costume to debut for Silicon Valley Comic Con. I got what I wanted with Edea Kramer, the sorceress from Final Fantasy VIII. She was the antagonist for the first half of the game before it was revealed that she was the matron of the orphanage that many of the characters in the game grew up in. Because my first two costumes (Doll and Samurai Jack) were sartorially predominantly white (which is funny because I detest wearing white in my personal wardrobe), I was very eager to return to my gothic roots. Edea is very gothic-steampunk-fantasy, and pushed me to explore the new world of crafting (at least, it’s very new to me!).
HOW I MADE THIS COSTUME
6 weeks to make this costume? Challenge accepted. The dress was the easiest part. I duct-taped my body to create my own pattern, and made it out of four-way stretch velvet with black lining. Because the dress is so tight, it was very important to me that I can step in and out of the dress with ease, so I sewed a 36-inch zipper into the side of the dress. The feather shawl was made out of three different feather trims hand-sewn upon a base of black stretch velvet, and the gloves were patterned by me. I attached foam into the fingers to create that long, claw-like effect.
I worked with worbla and craft foam for the very first time! I saran-wrapped and duct-taped my head to create a pattern for the base of the helmet, and built the horns out of aluminum foil before cover it with worbla. The spikes on one side of the helmet were actually made out of toothpicks, and covered with worbla. After building the helmet, and nailing all the parts together, I gessoed it and busted out my acrylic paint collection from high school. I even made my own beads out of worbla and attached them to the helmet with wire. After everything was painted, I varnished everything to protect the paint and give the helmet a glossy sheen.
The most challenging part of the costume was the backpiece. It was important for me to make it collapsible, durable, and light enough to wear, all while remaining aesthetically pleasing. I bought artificial wood from Home Depot, and created a small prototype out of cardstock to determine how the backpiece would look and function. Once I was satisfied, I blew up the design by six times, and drew out everything onto the wood. 9th grade geometry really came in handy.
It was really stupid of me, but I had 2 weeks before Silicon Valley Comic Con to make the backpiece. Because I’ve never worked with wood (aside from a woodworking class for one month in 6th grade, and I was terrified of the machines), my dad became my cosplay partner-in-crime, and helped me cut out the design while I watched and learned from him. I also had to modify the design of the backpiece, so as not to compromise the strength of the wood. I also designed a harness that would be hidden beneath my dress. Even though people remarked to me that the backpiece looked heavy, I’m very pleased to say that it’s actually lighter than a backpack, and I was able to walk around with it strapped to me for several hours. This all came together the night before the con. I got very little sleep.
THOUGHTS ON THIS COSTUME
This is the most challenging costume I made to date. I thought 6 weeks would be plenty of time to get this done. NOPE! There were so many times I internally screamed to myself, “What have I gotten myself into???” But I have no regrets, and was happy that I pushed myself to work with so many new skills and techniques. It was all worth it when I walked around at the con, and not even 5 minutes would pass without someone approaching me for photos and/or exclaiming, “Edea!”
Being featured in SFGate’s article on Silicon Valley Comic Con was surreal. I was very proud to be recognized for my craftsmanship and hard work!