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Character: Wizard - Granado Espada
Costume made and worn by me
Photography by Judy Stephens :iconthedreamerworld:

Time for another Construction Breakdown. I based this costumes off of a beautiful character design sketch: [link]
I had already cosplayed the Wizard once [link] and really love the style and grace of this character. This newer design compelled to me for the intricacy of details, mermaid silhouette, and creme/black color scheme.
I decided early on to make some artistic changes to this design, because I did not like the open stomach and hip exposure. Such design aspect may look nice on paper or rendered on a digital figure, but on a real person the skin exposure would have contradicted the elegant sophisticated overall design of this outfit. I wanted to make this costume look regal and opulent, not show off my belly button and hip flesh.
Whenever I choose to make changes to a design, I try to be very respectful of the original designer and translate their vision to a real life version of the character. In the case of the Wizard, I chose extravagant fabrics and trims, and spared no cost on the materials. I used the most expensive fabric on my record on this costume: $100 per yard. Even the black satin serving as the skirt base was a heavy bridal satin. The creme fabric was exquisite and I couldn't have been happier with it.
I drafted my own patterns and created a steel boned corset, over which a lot of details were hand stitched on. I designed and made a center applique piece in place of the open belly and matching bra cups, all embroidered free-hand on my sewing machine. Just pinning on the trims and deciding placement of each took a good day, and I had to keep walking away from it, coming back, trying it on etc.
Over the corset went a bolero with those weird sleeves. I searched all over for a pleated chiffon and found a semi-sheer pleat at fabric.com finally for the sleeve petals. They were carefully measured (MATH!), cut out and fray checked, and sewn together into sleeves. I beaded glass crystals to each petal tip as well.
The skirt was a fun challenge because it's an exxagerated mermaid shape with multiple tiers. I made an underskirt with a tulle petticoat (hate sewing tulle...), and underneath that I built a hoopskirt from the ground to my knees. Again, a lot of math was used to figure out the right length, diameters etc. of this set up and I had to take into account the 7 inch heels I would have to wear in order to emulate the character design's torso to legs ratio. Anyway, a lot of time later, I had an underskirt and it was time to create the tiers on the overskirt. The bottom black tier is the satin, and I made a circle skirt and the biggest applique set I ever - the snakes. Each applique is heat-n-bonded on, then satin stitched over. The larger twin snakes have an overlay of metallic net as well. I ran out of time to embellish the snakes, was going to bead on them and add crystals as well.
The next tier is my awesome creme fabric, with the gorgeous scalloped edges. Over that went a black fishnet fabric that is heavily embroidered, beaded and sequined. I encased the edge in a binding to give it a finished look. My tiers are a little different from the original sketch, but I'd like to think I kept to the feel of the character while adding some interesting textures and details to the skirt, to match all the stuff that was going on with the corset/sleeves.
I used the same embroidered fishnet to create the under sleeves to again have some of the same reoccurring materials in the top as well as bottom of the costume.
Oh, and for the first time ever I made a bib lol. I mean, what else would you call that rounded collar thing? I was skeptical of the thing the entire time I was sewing it, but with the bolero on it looks nice and finished.

Now onto the rubber snakes on the skirt. They were a focal point in the design and I felt it needed to be accurate, in order for people to recognize this character. So I spent hours sculpting 2 mirroring snake designs out of clay, as well as a matching center piece for the top of the corset with the harlequin face on it. I then made a silicone mold and dusted it with opalescent powder, and cast the whole thing out of urethane rubber. It's an expensive process, over $150 just in materials for the mold and cast, and special urethane adhesive to attach them to my skirt. I think the finished pieces turned out great though, and give the skirt the needed dimensions.

The hat was the last piece I made. God knows why it covers her left eye. I made a pattern, then 3 bases in different sizes in Wonderflex, and covered them in matching fabrics. The hat inside is finished with a felt backing, and I hand stitched various trims on for detailing. I found creme Ostrich feathers and added white and black feathers to them to make a bouquet, which was then attached to the hat as well.

The hair style is created by pinning my Wizard wig from the other costume on my head and blending my own hair into it.

There you have it, phew. Sorry for the wall of text. It was a fun and creative process to make this costume because I took artistic liberties while sticking to the fundamentals of the character design. I loved working with the beautiful fabrics and thank all my photographers friends for taking pictures of me at Katsucon. If I figure out how to air travel with that hoop skirt, I would gladly take this costume to a West Coast con or other events in the future.

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Character: Wizard - Granado Espada
Costume made and worn by me
Photography by Anna Fisher

I always knew that one Granado Espada costume is not enough. The designs are just too heartbreakingly beautiful in this game. I chose another costume of the Wizard because I love her class and style.
I slaved away on this costume for about 14 days, starting around Christmas, then it sat around for while I did my convention tour in January, then I picked up the work again end of January. Detailed construction notes coming soon. You can see the details in the corset, bolero and hat in this great image by Anna Fisher. I should note that the main fabric is an ivory/cream color, not white.

I was channeling Audrey Hepburn's Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady all day in this costume. :)

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I received the first image from Katsucon of the new costume I debuted there on Saturday :)

Character: Wizard - Granado Espada
Costume made and worn by me
Photography by Joseph Lin

I always knew that one Granado Espada costume is not enough. The designs are just too heartbreakingly beautiful in this game. I chose another costume of the Wizard because I love her class and style. I've also never made a mermaid skirt like this before, with a full hoop and petticoat underneath. It's like an umbrella attached to my knees.

I slaved away on this costume for about 14 days, starting around Christmas, then it sat around for while I did my convention tour in January, then I picked up the work again end of January. Detailed construction notes coming soon.

I was channeling Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady all day in this costume. :)

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My last cosplay of 2011! Litchi has been on my to do list since the first arcade game was imported to the USA at Planet Zero in Houston a few years ago!!! I was lucky enough to be in the area and was one of the first people to try my hands at it. Litchi's design and fighting style with the staff was instantly my favorite. I also really approve of girls in glasses. AND I love pandas, and she has one hanging on her head. It was love at first button push lol.

Character: Litchi Faye Ling
Costume made and modeled by Yaya (moi)
Photography by the talented Elysia of Fenyx Design :iconfenyxdesign:

Costume construction:
In order to translate the design of this 2-D video game character into a real life costume, I knew that I needed a lot of silk. I found this gorgeous deep red silk in the LA Fabric district for the jacket and skirt/tail and paired it with a golden yellow silk brocade for the trim. I made my own bias tape with the gold brocade and used a red Asian brocade for the lining of the jacket/skirt. For those new to making bias tape, it's really simple and can add an interesting detail to your costume if you use fun fabrics. Just by doing a quick google search you can find tons of tutorials on this technique, with photos or video. For example, here is a simple tutorial on how to make your own bias tape: [link]
And how to sew bias tape on! [link]

As usual, I created my own patterns for the garment by drafting them on paper, measuring and chalk drawing on fabric, draping on my mannequin, and altering base patterns heavily., I serged/sewed everything on this costume, making sure it is tailored to me and fit properly. All the garment pieces are lined and finished with a hand made binding.
I altered the jacket design a tad because on the character design it's loose and cut very low. Since I was already going to show a bra, I didn't want the closure to be way low on my torso, so the jacket swoops in underneath the bra and closes via hook/eyes. That's also why I have an extra set of buttons in the front, it would have looked weird just with one row.

After making the jacket and skirt, I tackled the boot covers, which are built over a pair of wedge boots that I completely butchered. I made a pattern by tracing around the boots and created the boot covers with matching silk fabrics. I even lined the boot covers because loose seams drive me nuts.

I chose a decorated bra from VS instead of a plain one because my costume has some texture to it and is made with pretty luxurious fabrics. I thought it would fit the overall look better.

I also styled the wig, with consisted of a lot of razoring and shearing of the bangs into the asymmetrical style, and butchering two long hair falls to make the floor-sweeping ponytail.
I made the ying yang hair piece with a variety of lightweight materials that were laying around my house and hand painted it carefully.
The panda was so much fun to make, and super easy. I even had all the fleece and stuffings laying around already. The leaves are made from left over taffeta from my Peacock costume, and I embroidered them.

The glasses were very carefully taken apart, and, after dremeling off the top bridges, put back together.

Last piece to make was the fighting staff which I didn't want to be too tall, since it's already a pain to carry around. So it's just a few inches taller than me when I'm wearing the boots. It breaks down into three pieces for easy transport and is made from a pvc pipe.

You can see a video collage from Ikkicon with Riddle and me where Litchi is featured here: [link]

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Gah, I got so many amazing BlazBlue photos that I can't stop posting them! Hope I'm not boring you guys.

Character: Litchi Faye Ling
Costume made and modeled by Yaya (moi)
Photography by the legendary Maboroshi of RisingSun.net [link]

These images were taken during Sukoshicon in Destin, FL - the con was right next to the beach!!! Of course we had to take advantage of the beautiful weather and scenery. Mab's photography is not only vibrant and vivid, but he also has an innate sense for great composition and an unmatched way to capture a moment. I wanted to do a few action fighto poses and of course Mab always makes me look more badass than I am lol.

Costume construction:
In order to translate the design of this 2-D video game character into a real life costume, I knew that I needed a lot of silk. I found this gorgeous deep red silk in the LA Fabric district for the jacket and skirt/tail and paired it with a golden yellow silk brocade for the trim. I made my own bias tape with the gold brocade and used a red Asian brocade for the lining of the jacket/skirt. For those new to making bias tape, it's really simple and can add an interesting detail to your costume if you use fun fabrics. Just by doing a quick google search you can find tons of tutorials on this technique, with photos or video. For example, here is a simple tutorial on how to make your own bias tape: [link]
And how to sew bias tape on! [link]

As usual, I created my own patterns for the garment by drafting them on paper, measuring and chalk drawing on fabric, draping on my mannequin, and altering base patterns heavily., I serged/sewed everything on this costume, making sure it is tailored to me and fit properly. All the garment pieces are lined and finished with a hand made binding.
I altered the jacket design a tad because on the character design it's loose and cut very low. Since I was already going to show a bra, I didn't want the closure to be way low on my torso, so the jacket swoops in underneath the bra and closes via hook/eyes. That's also why I have an extra set of buttons in the front, it would have looked weird just with one row.

After making the jacket and skirt, I tackled the boot covers, which are built over a pair of wedge boots that I completely butchered. I made a pattern by tracing around the boots and created the boot covers with matching silk fabrics. I even lined the boot covers because loose seams drive me nuts.

I chose a decorated bra from VS instead of a plain one because my costume has some texture to it and is made with pretty luxurious fabrics. I thought it would fit the overall look better.

I also styled the wig, with consisted of a lot of razoring and shearing of the bangs into the asymmetrical style, and butchering two long hair falls to make the floor-sweeping ponytail.
I made the ying yang hair piece with a variety of lightweight materials that were laying around my house and hand painted it carefully.
The panda was so much fun to make, and super easy. I even had all the fleece and stuffings laying around already. The leaves are made from left over taffeta from my Peacock costume, and I embroidered them.

The glasses were very carefully taken apart, and, after dremeling off the top bridges, put back together.

Last piece to make was the fighting staff which I didn't want to be too tall, since it's already a pain to carry around. So it's just a few inches taller than me when I'm wearing the boots. It breaks down into three pieces for easy transport and is made from a pvc pipe.

You can see a video collage from Ikkicon with Riddle and me where Litchi is featured here: [link]

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Full body image from my amazing photoshoot with Dru Phillips ([link]!!!

It's Cosplay Haute Couture hahaha.

LeBlanc Wizard - Granado Espada
Costume made entirely by Yaya
Photographed by Dru Phillips
Hair by Tres Tres Jai
Makeup by Yaya
Model - Yaya

Construction Notes on this costume:
. I based this costumes off of a beautiful character design sketch: [link]
I had already cosplayed the Wizard once [link] and really love the style and grace of this character. This newer design compelled to me for the intricacy of details, mermaid silhouette, and creme/black color scheme.
I decided early on to make some artistic changes to this design, because I did not like the open stomach and hip exposure. Such design aspect may look nice on paper or rendered on a digital figure, but on a real person the skin exposure would have contradicted the elegant sophisticated overall design of this outfit. I wanted to make this costume look regal and opulent, not show off my belly button and hip flesh.
Whenever I choose to make changes to a design, I try to be very respectful of the original designer and translate their vision to a real life version of the character. In the case of the Wizard, I chose extravagant fabrics and trims, and spared no cost on the materials. I used the most expensive fabric on my record on this costume: $100 per yard. Even the black satin serving as the skirt base was a heavy bridal satin. The creme fabric was exquisite and I couldn't have been happier with it.
I drafted my own patterns and created a steel boned corset, over which a lot of details were hand stitched on. I designed and made a center applique piece in place of the open belly and matching bra cups, all embroidered free-hand on my sewing machine. Just pinning on the trims and deciding placement of each took a good day, and I had to keep walking away from it, coming back, trying it on etc.
Over the corset went a bolero with those weird sleeves. I searched all over for a pleated chiffon and found a semi-sheer pleat at fabric.com finally for the sleeve petals. They were carefully measured (MATH!), cut out and fray checked, and sewn together into sleeves. I beaded glass crystals to each petal tip as well.
The skirt was a fun challenge because it's an exxagerated mermaid shape with multiple tiers. I made an underskirt with a tulle petticoat (hate sewing tulle...), and underneath that I built a hoopskirt from the ground to my knees. Again, a lot of math was used to figure out the right length, diameters etc. of this set up and I had to take into account the 7 inch heels I would have to wear in order to emulate the character design's torso to legs ratio. Anyway, a lot of time later, I had an underskirt and it was time to create the tiers on the overskirt. The bottom black tier is the satin, and I made a circle skirt and the biggest applique set I ever - the snakes. Each applique is heat-n-bonded on, then satin stitched over. The larger twin snakes have an overlay of metallic net as well. I ran out of time to embellish the snakes, was going to bead on them and add crystals as well.
The next tier is my awesome creme fabric, with the gorgeous scalloped edges. Over that went a black fishnet fabric that is heavily embroidered, beaded and sequined. I encased the edge in a binding to give it a finished look. My tiers are a little different from the original sketch, but I'd like to think I kept to the feel of the character while adding some interesting textures and details to the skirt, to match all the stuff that was going on with the corset/sleeves.
I used the same embroidered fishnet to create the under sleeves to again have some of the same reoccurring materials in the top as well as bottom of the costume.
Oh, and for the first time ever I made a bib lol. I mean, what else would you call that rounded collar thing? I was skeptical of the thing the entire time I was sewing it, but with the bolero on it looks nice and finished.

Now onto the rubber snakes on the skirt. They were a focal point in the design and I felt it needed to be accurate, in order for people to recognize this character. So I spent hours sculpting 2 mirroring snake designs out of clay, as well as a matching center piece for the top of the corset with the harlequin face on it. I then made a silicone mold and dusted it with opalescent powder, and cast the whole thing out of urethane rubber. It's an expensive process, over $150 just in materials for the mold and cast, and special urethane adhesive to attach them to my skirt. I think the finished pieces turned out great though, and give the skirt the needed dimensions.

The hat was the last piece I made. God knows why it covers her left eye. I made a pattern, then 3 bases in different sizes in Wonderflex, and covered them in matching fabrics. The hat inside is finished with a felt backing, and I hand stitched various trims on for detailing. I found creme Ostrich feathers and added white and black feathers to them to make a bouquet, which was then attached to the hat as well.

The hair style is created by pinning my Wizard wig from the other costume on my head and blending my own hair into it.

There you have it, phew. Sorry for the wall of text. It was a fun and creative process to make this costume because I took artistic liberties while sticking to the fundamentals of the character design. I loved working with the beautiful fabrics and thank all my photographers friends for taking pictures of me at Katsucon. If I figure out how to air travel with that hoop skirt, I would gladly take this costume to a West Coast con or other events in the future.

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Character: Polaris (Lorna Dane) from X-Men (Marvel Universe)
Costume made by: Yaya
Photography: :iconcadha13:
Makeup, styling, Model: Yaya
Photo taken at: Albuquerque Comic Expo 2012

I'll admit, the reason I chose this costume is because I had a great wig for it laying around. Originally used for my Sea Nymph mermaid costume, this green/teal gradient wig was a good choice for Polaris. I definitely appreciate her character's heritage, numerous struggles and relationship with Havok, and I like how the color green looks against my skin tone. Not sure why I'm drawn to cosplay all of Magneto's daughters lol (Wanda, Lorna...), I guess I secretly wished he was my daddy? haha

Last push to make the costume was my Guest appearance at Albuquerque Comic Expo, for which I wanted to debut a new cosplay.

As usual, I made 100% of this costume. I can't believe that after 13 years of cosplaying, people still don't believe that I make my own costumes. Well, let those stand forth who have supposedly made my costumes and show in progress proof to the world.
Yeah. They don't exist, because I'm the one pulling all-nighters creating each costume from scratch.

Polaris was a very simple costume to make and I started it on the Tuesday afternoon before ACE, and finished it up around 5am on Thursday morning. Basically, 2 days. It would have only taken 1 day if I hadn't decided to make the bodysuit structured, lined and insert all those seams and lines. The materials were 4-way stretch metallic spandex (to match the look of this statue), wonderflex for the headpiece, gauntlets & anklets, and crepe back satin for the cape. I kind of took my favorite elements of various Polaris outfits and put them together.

About the photoshoot - it was an impromptu shoot with :iconcadha13: during ACE and this photo was taken in the walkway to the parking garage. The neon lights added a psychedelic effect which I thought worked well with Polaris' power over magnetism. The swirls around my right hand were not photoshopped in but a lucky catch of the light. Unfortunately the low light level inside the hallway affected the quality of this photo.


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Character: Dark Elf - Lineage II (Based on this artwork
Photography by Ljinto
Costume made & modeled by Yaya
Makeup by Yaya

Construction notes:
Thanks, Ljinto, for these great photos showing the costume in it's full!
I have had this costume planned for a few years - and been collecting the fabrics and materials for about 2 or 3 years now. I remember just stashing the gold quilted silk taffeta for years waiting to use it on this project.
Often the reason I wait for years to finally make a costume is either time, an appropriate con to wear the costume to, or a technique I need to still master.
Finally for Dragoncon 2012 I asked Riddle to make elf costumes with me - I would make this Dark Elf and she would make a regular Elf and we would help each other with portions of the costumes that were our expertise.
I sewed for about 3 days on Riddle's elf costume since I was a fast seamstress, and she made molds for my torso pieces while I was at a convention in Singapore.

I started sketching the designs on the torso and refining them into lineart, then transferring them onto foam. I made the top. thigh highs and sleeves between working on the scale maille for a few days. I got the supplies from The Ring Lord, and learned the technique by watching youtube videos and cursing a lot. And messing up. I really loved learning a new technique for this costume though!
During my trip to Singapore I took the scale maille with me to continue working on it. Riddle molded the filigree pieces for the torso, and cast a pair of shoulder armor which I designed and prototyped. Sadly the shoulders were too rigid and heavy and I decided to not use them since I wanted to be able to move my arms. I made entirely new lightweight shoulder pieces with wondeflex and foam, and used the same technique to make the elbow guards and ankle guards. It took a good day to make and paint those pieces. I did a lot of hand sewing on the sleeves and gold top, attaching ornate trim onto it and also sewing the finished scale maille sleeves onto the fabric.
The wig was sponsored by Epic Cosplay and I used a hair razor to cut it.
The elf ears were from my line of cosplay accessories and I dyed them grey to match my skintone.
The filigree designs were made of urethane rubber and I attached them to a corset I already owed with special glue made just for urethane.
I spent the two days leading up to Dragoncon finishing up this costume, making sure to create all the details such as the leather briefs, chain adornments, hair accessory, embroidered leg details, attaching all the armor pieces etc.
I used Mehron cream based makeup for the grey skintone, and Final Seal to seal it.

All in all I took on this costume in too short of a time lol. Riddle sadly didn't finish her Elf, and I really had to push to finish mine. For future wear I want to tweak some things on this for sure but it was nice to get super obsessed with a costume project and pull all nighters to finish it. Creativity achieved!
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New costume debut - Dragoncon 2011

Character: Baroness - G.I. Joe
Costume made by Yaya (moi)
Armor made by Pit Viper Studios
Photos by Paul Tien, thank you so much!

This is a collaboration between Pit Viper Studios [link] and moi. I was approached by Len and Audrey several months ago with the idea of modeling a one-off set of Baroness armor for their prop studio as a way to promote their company and our mutual fandom love for GI Joe. I was honored to be considered! Since I had been planning on making Baroness at some point any way, it seemed like the perfect time to get to work.
Toby and Audrey sculpted the pieces, and Len, Kevin, John and the rest of the Pit Viper crew cast the amazing set of armor for me, made of fiberglass. It is surprisingly comfortable and sturdy to wear and I could move around easily. And it looks totally badass and protective!

I took on the responsibility to put the rest of the suit together. Looking at many many reference images of Anastasia (:iconadamhughes: and :icondiablo2003: amongst others), I decided to put my own spin on her signature bodysuit. My goal was for it to be more than just a spandex bodysuit, so I designed a two piece suit featuring seaming details and quilted sides down the arms and legs, as well as scalloped three-piece sections of leg armor. The material is a rubber coated 4-way stretch spandex, which I chose because I wanted the gloss-coated armor to stand out from the matte-finish suit and contrast each other. I made a pattern for the bodysuit and sewed it from scratch. The wig is a pretty lace front that was sleek and not too long, since I didn't want to cover up the armor too much. The glasses were a surprising bitch to find lol. You can't walk into an Optic store and buy a set of rims, they'd have to do an exam and fit non-prescription lenses in. And I didn't want to have lens-less rims! So after much searching I got these at a Dollar Store.. in Montreal, Canada lol.
The weapons were so much fun to pose with. I borrowed a big ass gun from :iconbeautifully-twisted: since she did Sweet Pea from Sucker Punch the day before. Thanks, babe! I had also brought a P-90 which would have looked cool but I couldn't carry more than 2 guns around. The hand gun is my Amber gun haha.

Honestly the only thing I'm somewhat missing is a belt. I debated for a while whether or not to have a belt because it will break up the stream-lined seams I so painstakingly put on the bodysuit.... then I got stuck in Germany for three days because of Hurricane Irene and lost that time to work on costumes for Dragoncon. So I said screw the belt. But after wearing the costume, I must say it would be nice to have someplace to put my room key/money/phone, so a belt will be made when I find the time!

Check out Pit Viper Studio's work here! [link]
Photos from the Cobra's Finest meet coming soon. Thank you everyone for having me in your group!!

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I forgot I had these lovely shots from BlizzardTerrak from last Fanime! Thank you!

Character: Original version of Absinthe Fairy
Costume designed, made and worn by Yaya
Photography by :iconblizzardterrak:

More images and construction info to be found on my website: [link]
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