Costume Roundup: Shallie

Bit of a lame title, but for each costume I complete from now I aim to have a little Costume Roundup, where I write up thoughts/processes on each costume! So here’s just that for my first costume of 2016, some thoughts on Shallotte “Shallie” Elminus from Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea. It’s a little lengthy, but it may be interesting to someone, so here goes.

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I really love the Atelier series, they’re lovely and laid-back and if nothing else the scenery and characters are always really beautiful. Back in 2012 I made Totori from Atelier Totori, which to this day is still one of the most complex costumes I’ve ever made. That didn’t stop me wanting to make another Atelier costume though, and with the release of each one I’d fly between different characters but never quite settle on one. Then Shallie came out. Both of the lead characters have great designs and upon seeing one of my friends (Lex Cosplay) announce she was making Shallistera, I decided to make Shallotte to match!

On design alone Shallotte has a lot that I really love – cat hat, green hair, bows (but not too many), lots of trinkets and a pleated skirt to name a few. Her personality is really cute and genki too, and even though static photos don’t really express it, I love doing “fun” characters. Not only that but compared to Totori her design is arguably a lot simpler; the lines are clearer and garments are actual garments, rather than made up clothing. Which was nice and refreshing, but still took a lot of time to perfect.

In any case, here are some notes about the whole costume from top to bottom, including things like fabric choices, pattern adjustments, etc etc. I’m very picky with everything I make and believe wholeheartedly that accuracy is not the be all and end all as long as you create something you love, so I did make some adjustments and have described them bit by bit.

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The hat is easily my favourite part of the costume. I wanted to make it look nice and padded and cute rather than limp. The main yellow fabric is fleece-lined jersey and it is lined with a lush short-pile fleece. The ears are stuffed and the ‘bracelet’ is made from beads on elastic wire, hand sewn into place using beads from VJW Jewellery. I patterned the hat shape from an old pair of underwear as it provided the holes for the ears and minimal seams. The only seams are around the ears and along the back of the front ear flap panels.

The green detailing is done with copic marker, and the trails are tapisserie wool dyed by hand with the same ink. I didn’t want to applique the design to save bulk, and copics soaked in nicely without too much bleed for a clean edge. I took a lot of time to select the green for the sides to ensure it didn’t clash with the wig – the colours on the reference are clearly different and I wanted to reflect that.

The wig is a Jaguar in Laurel Green from Arda Wigs, trimmed and feathered on the fringe. The colour isn’t perfect; the closest I could find was actually this Visual Short in Pepper Mint from Assist Wig, but the difference in cost was too much to justify when a decent alternative was available.

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The blouse worn in the current photos was bought, but eventually I’m going to make my own. Her blouse has a rounded collar and a no-peep strip down the button band.

The jacket is made from a polycotton blend with a brushed texture. When I started gathering materials, this was the main fabric I wanted – the art has such a soft light to it, I wanted the costume to have that too. The original fabric I had was pale blue, so I dyed it for the costume using Dylon Machine Dyes with a mix of Ocean Blue and Bahama Blue and it came out pretty spot on. The jacket is lined in the same fabric but a lighter shade from a previous dye attempt. The button band and collar is made from faux suede with decorative pearlised buttons, and the cuffs are made from a polyester suiting with belt details and lace trim. The actual fastening at the front closes with a hidden zipper.

The pattern was made from scratch as closely to the reference as possible, but with added darts down the bust. This isn’t strictly accurate to the art, but Shallie has a large bust and the jacket is very close fitting. Even with using a fabric with stretch it was impossible without the extra seam. I also took in the sleeves a little to make it look more proportional, rather than having huge puffy sleeves compared to a fitted waist.

The patch on the sleeve was vectored by me and embroidered by Paper Cranes and the bow at the collar is made from liquid satin with ribbon trim.

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The skirt is made from upholstery tartan and interfaced to help keep the pleats. The pattern is a little big for Shallie, but it was the closest I could find and I really loved the colours. The skirt is made from one long rectangular strip of fabric, pleated by hand and then pressed into place and stitched at the very top to keep each pleat in place.

The bottom trim is gold double-satin ribbon. I saw a lot of cosplayers do it as orange but I think it clashes, so I went with what looked nicest to me.

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The belt and the bag are attached to each other, so I was careful with proportions to make sure it would all “fit”. All of the buckles, clips and trims on the belt and bag are fully functional, so it’s useful too. Most buckles and clip supplies are from Le Prevo Leathers and are brass.

The belt is made from suedette with eyelet detail, finished with the same polyester suiting used on the jacket cuffs. The inside of the belt is interfaced and also padded with bag batting to give it extra body. All of the eyelets were hammered by hand. There are 8 gold eyelets across the front and side of the belt and 10 bronze eyelets on the side where the bag attaches.

The belt tip and buckle are made from craft foam covered in worbla, primed with wood glue and sanded for a smoother texture, finished with a resin gem. The tip is glued in place and the buckle fastens into the belt. Next to the buckle are some small glass bottles filled with multicoloured beads – strictly speaking they should probably be liquid, but I thought beads were a cute alternative that were much safer if the bottles ever break. The corks are glued in place, then the bottles are glued to the straps and sewn to the belt.

The bag and strap are made from olive green cotton canvas which has a lovely heavy texture, trimmed with the same polyester suiting and lined with some patterned cotton. The top panel is made from light green suedette and the gold patterning is made from faux leather. The finished bag is “sewn” onto the belt through matching eyelets with leather thonging.

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Now for the little accessories! The back collar panel on the jacket is made from suedette, finished with the same trim, and accented with gold faux leather and secured in place with snap studs onto the collar. Admittedly I want to remake the panel as it was quite messy before.

The gloves were the bane of my life for around a week. I made 8 different versions before settling on the final one because no matter what I did I couldn’t get the proportions right on my hand. They are made from orange jersey with red liquid satin trims, suedette palms and acetate ribbon with padded cuffs. The cuffs aren’t totally accurate as they only have 6 stripes (references show 7 or 8), but I prefer the wider stripe as it is much more visible in person than thinner lines.

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And now for the parts that were missing; for the photoshoot, the socks and shoes were left plain, but they will be adjusted and finished. I was also missing the book from the back of the costume. Both of these things will be updated, though, and I’ll add the progress to this post later.

Shallie took around 3 months to make on and off, but I really love the result. There are still a few things I would like to tweak, but overall I’m pretty happy with the costume and construction so far. If you have any questions with this costume, techniques or anything else, please feel free to ask!

Posted on February 8, 2016 in Cosplay, Costume Roundup, Musings
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