Costume Roundup: Shallie, Part Two

Shallotte is now.. dare I say it.. finished..?! Admittedly there are still tweaks to be made, but so far all of the adjustments and fixes I wanted to do are complete. I’m much happier with the costume now than I was with it before, and more importantly it looks better too.

Now these tweaks are done, I figured I’d do an updated Costume Roundup for Shallotte “Shallie” Elminus from Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea to chronicle the updates and tweaks to the costume. If you haven’t already you can check out the first Costume Roundup on Shallie here, with details of how the main costume was made!

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I said it last time and I’ll say it again – I love the Atelier series & the designs, and the more I look at this costume, the more I like it! The colours are so vibrant and there are lots of little details everywhere, but it doesn’t look particularly “busy”. Every time I wear Shallie people notice new little parts of the costume and it’s a really nice compliment to both my work and also the design that there are so many little bits to be found.

So on with the improvements. What exactly did I change..?

  • Remade the hat cords
  • Made a new blouse
  • Remade the bow on the blouse
  • Remade the jacket collar
  • Resized the jacket & adjusted the hem
  • Made the book
  • Modified the socks
  • Made the cuffs & added hearts to the shoes
  • Made the broom

It’s a pretty long list now I write it down, actually! I still have some tiny adjustments to make on the shoes for stability too, but for the most part this is it. The majority of it was changing some shapes I didn’t like & polishing the overall look of the costume.

So let’s start from the top!

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The hat cords were a small job. The previous ones were thicker and shorter, which wasn’t as accurate as I wanted and also meant they stuck out awkwardly because they weren’t very flexible. The new ones are made with the same tapisserie wool as before, but with about 1/3 of the wool removed and double the original length. The tips were also brushed similar to my tail for Taruto to create the soft ends. There’s a blend of 3 colours mixed together in the cords and they’re coloured by hand with copic markers.

The previous cords I tried to dye in a little bath, but the colour ran easily and came out because it was too watered down; colouring them by hand produced a more vibrant colour, and also meant I had more control of the gradient.

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The blouse is the adjustment I’m happiest with. I made the blouse from scratch using Butterick 6070, which is a very boxy pattern but meant I could add adjustments and darts where they were needed easily. It has small capped sleeves for less bulk. I reshaped the collar to have a curve and added a thinner ribbon than last time. The back has two darts added and the front panels have a dart each. The front closes with a no-peep band for a nice seamless look, finished with one visible button at the collar just above where the bow sits.

The bow itself was remade completely. I used the same material as before and the same cute white trim, but instead of wadding inside I used medium interfacing to support the top of the bow so it stands up nicer than the last one. I also remade the gold panel in the middle; different references show it as something between fabric, a bead or a metal clasp, so I went for a “metal clasp” look using black worbla, gold spraypaint and mod podge to finish it off. The bow is still a little big compared to the references, but it looks nicer in proportion with everything else.

The collar on the jacket is now completely remade and also much nicer. It’s basically the same shape as the last one but with adjustments to how it is sewn. The poppers are now functional and attach to the jacket on either side of the collar, too. The overall shape isn’t totally accurate as the curves on the back aren’t as round as they should be, so I might still remake this again but for now I’m happy!

The beaded cord is sewn to the collar on one side and can be loosened on the other with a hook and eye. It’s also on elasticated cord, so it’s easy enough to pull over my head too.

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I resized the jacket at the waist a little for a nicer fit. The jacket hem was also adjusted so the front curls more into a point to sit under the belt, and the back was taken in; the previous one looked a little “puffy” and hung out beneath the belt as you can see above, which isn’t how it’s meant to sit. There’s still a little hang with it now, but it’s much less noticeable than it was before.

I also handsewed through the darts on the bust to match the lining a little closer; previously it would show unflattering lines across the bust if the lining shifted. It looks much nicer without!

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The book was one of the nice fun little projects of this, and my first attempt at decoupage! I made it using a folding box, red & cream paper, the same brown fabric from the costume and black worbla for the edges and lock. Sadly because of how it is made it isn’t functional as an actual book so it can’t be opened, but it looks great hung on the costume.

Most of the book is kind of self explanatory but it was my first attempt covering a book and it was really easy compared to what I was expecting. Using the right tools and a bit of patience it turned out great. I used cream paper for the edge of the book, drawing individual lines and smudging them with glue to look more like pages to complete the look.

The book is a little heavy so it’s supported on the back of the belt with three poppers and the jacket with a little hook and eye which stops it from falling backwards when worn.

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The socks and shoes were a big thing on my list to adjust. Previously they looked fine, but I wanted to improve every aspect so these were a big part of that. The socks have a yellow band added around the top of each one. Not a very big job, but it was tricky to sew and makes a big difference when the costume is worn.

The shoes have a cuff around the top, which was trickier than you’d think to add.. firstly I needed matching fabric, which was troublesome because the shoes I bought were no longer available. Secondly, I needed enough of the same fabric to actually make a cuff from it, without it being too short or too thin. Luckily I managed to find some mens shoes that matched exactly and butchered 4 individual shoes for their tongues to make the cuffs; I refer to these as the “frankenshoes” because a total of 6 shoes were sacrificed for them, poor things!

The cuffs themselves have little loops on them, with yellow straps matching the socks and hat and decorative rings. The straps fasten on the inside leg with snap fasteners and a hook and bar for security. The cuffs are handsewn around the top of the shoes, and the laces are tucked in when worn.

I also added the hearts to the sides of the shoes; modified some little metal hearts with worbla and attached them into place by sewing through some hook and eyes attached on the back. I also intend to add the white line detailing and wear heel lifts next time for EGX – flat shoes don’t do my legs any favours, so hopefully some hidden lifts will help with that!

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Finally, the broom! The biggest and most noticeable improvement I made because Shallie rarely goes anywhere without her broom. I’m not very experienced with props so this was a big job for me. I can make them but they rarely stay together long enough to survive an event, but I wanted this broom to be as sturdy as possible, so I spent a lot of time considering how to make it effectively.

The main handle is a 22mm hardwood dowel, rather than using pipe which can bend easily. The main handle was made in 3 separate parts; the long 22mm handle, a 16mm dowel section, and then shorter 22mm dowel section at the top. The 16mm dowel is how the 5 stacked rings are attached; I used a kid’s stacking toy for them and the easiest way to keep them sturdy was to literally stack them onto the prop itself. To do this the 22mm dowel was drilled to have 3cm deep holes where the 16mm dowel was inserted and glued into place with the stacking rings intact. The top and bottom rings are also glued into place.

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All of the top detailing is done with worbla & black worbla. Initially I wanted to do everything with black worbla to save time priming it when all of the shapes are fiddly, but.. nothing is ever that simple! So once all of the shapes were heated and made, I had to prime it in two parts where they were attached, which made things interesting.

The top of the handle was made using pieces of black worbla. A lot of the shapes are simplified or assumed, as references were inconsistent as usual. Overall I like it, though. The hardest parts to shape were the cone at the bottom and the top where the swirl attaches; no matter what I did I couldn’t get the shapes to lay correctly, but with some TLC and priming I think it looks nice. All of the details were painted by hand and most of it was dry brushed with dark silver paint.

The white swirl is made with 5mm foam and classic worbla – black worbla kept loosening from the foam I was using and moving when I was trying to bend it into the swirl. This was primed with wood glue. Sadly if you’ve ever used wood glue you may have found wood glue doesn’t agree with black worbla, so this had to be primed and sanded separately from the main handle. It was finished using three types of paint to get a semi-iridescent look in person and lightly glossed.

Ideally the shape should have a little more of a curve at the sides, but I really like how it turned out anyway; the few other Shallie cosplayers I’ve seen with brooms have usually used fabric for the swirl, but it looks more solid to me as it’s intended to be used as a hook to stir in the game. The little cat at the end was also made by hand using Fimo clay, shaped and baked. The black beads were also made from fimo and are spaced with small clear beads bought from VJW Jewellery.

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Now onto the brush. The brush has far more details than I noticed and every time I thought I was done I found something else small and frustrating to add.. but I really like the finished outcome.

The brush is made from raffia. I used 4 bales of raffia for the broom and dyed 3 of them with a number of techniques to get a range of colours in the brush. These include acrylic paint dye, tea dye and leftover fabric dye, with mixed results from each, but it provided lots of colours which is what I wanted anyway. The raffia was attached in sections to a a small bird feeding pocket that was secured inside the broom and glued to the end of the wooden dowel handle. The end of the bird feeding pocket also has a shorter dowel poking out of the end of it as a “stand”, so when I hold the broom against the ground it doesn’t crumple too much.

The raffia was hot glued in sections and trimmed at the top and bottom to match the shape of her broom. Admittedly it’s a little small, but it also makes it easier for me to transport and carry!

Once it was finished, I attached the feathers with hot glue too. The feathers are layered in 4 colours; red, green, blue and dark blue. The blue feathers were coloured by hand with copics to gradient into the darker blue at the bottom.

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On top of the the broom there is a super cute kitty cloth. The cloth is also needlessly fancy (as everything is on this costume); it’s gradient dyed with Terracotta Brown Dylon fabric dye towards the top and painted by hand to have all of the little kitty faces at random intervals. References show the inside is green, so I lined it using the green suedette I used on the flap of the bag, and finished it with light brown suedette trim. It secures around the brush at the top at the back, sewn into place by hand where the raffia is tied.

On top of the cloth and keeping it in place is a thinner brown ribbon trim that also supports the little black and green “seat”. There are two strips of the brown trim wrapped around, both painted by hand with a repeating pattern; a red heart, a green leaf, a yellow 8-point star and a tan 6-point star. Both strips are sewn into place on the cloth and also help cover the closure at the back.

The little “seat” (I say “seat” as in-game the broom can grow and the witch who originally owns it sits on that panel, but for the sake of making the prop, I made it solid) is made from a plastic oval cap, finished with black leatherette, piping and green cotton, painted with mod podge and finished with mica powder. It was glued to the strips and also to the cloth for extra security, so it shouldn’t budge if it gets bashed at all.

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…And that’s it! Apologies for the stupidly long post, and kudos if you made it this far! It’s always so satisfying to go back and improve something, even if it’s a long journey – Shallie was started in November 2015, and finally finished in July 2016. Admittedly I did a lot of other things in that time and didn’t pressurise myself into rushing, which helped a lot.

This was also one of the first costumes I’ve made where pretty much every single thing was made from scratch by me. Usually I get help from friends or my sister, but this time it’s all me, and I’m pretty happy about that.

As always, if you have any questions with this costume, techniques or anything else, please feel free to ask! I’m more than happy to help.

Posted on August 31, 2016 in Cosplay, Costume Roundup, Musings
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