I adore Skies of Arcadia! It’s my all time favourite game, and Clara is adorable. This was my first ever attempt at making a competitive standard costume, for Hyper Japan’s Cosplay Award in 2010, with my friend Alielle joining me as Gilder.

This costume was a crazy ambitious project for me – I’d never competed before and I really wanted to push myself. I made both Clara & Gilder’s costumes in roughly 3 weeks, using an overlocker and machine embroidery for the first time. I learned a lot, not just on making costumes – other important aspects like actually preparing for competitions, planning performances, being on stage and transporting costumes, too.

It was a bit of a whirlwind decision to enter and not everything went smoothly but it was a lot of fun along the way. To our surprise, we won Third Place at Hyper Japan!

I got a new wig for her in 2014 and did a small photoshoot with Frazzy in time for Valentine’s Day. Unfortunately, none of the photos I have show off how pink this costume really is..!

Materials Used:

  • Cotton Poplin • Coat, Petticoat, Trims
  • Duchess Satin • Dress
  • Crushed Velour • Bows
  • Faux Leather • Collar, Gloves, Belt
  • Wig Vanellope in Mahogany Red from Coscraft
Hyper Japan 2010
Hyper Japan Cosplay Award 3rd Place, 2010

Construction Notes:
I made Clara as one of my first big ambitious projects, so I learned a lot on the way. There are still a lot of things I wish I could improve on the costume for things like fitting & construction, but overall I’m still very proud of this costume and how much I learned in a short time!

My sister had recently gotten an embroidery machine and that was my main inspiration for choosing Clara & Gilder as costumes. Making it for a competition forced me to want to incorporate as many techniques as possible, and of course to make the costumes as “accurate” as I could possibly achieve. Because the source material is so old, a lot of the detail on the costumes is open to interpretation, but based on the status of both characters I thought it was appropriate to go for more luxurious techniques and materials where appropriate.

The wig originally was a Clover XL in #130 from Cosplay.com, as pictured in the Construction Gallery. I replaced it when I did the Valentine’s photoshoot with a Vanellope in Mahogany Red from Coscraft. Unfortunately neither wig was suitable because of her hairline. My biggest regret with this costume is that I have never had an appropriate wig for her.

I made her earrings from some store-bought pin earrings. I don’t have my ears pierced so I removed the pins and attached magnets instead.

The hairclip was made from a clip I bought and modified, dry brushed silver with a sculpey emblem glued in place. The winged skull was made in multiple pieces to make it easier to position them, and to prevent cracking. I made two “identical” emblems from sculpey, one for the clip and one for the belt.

The dress pattern was quite basic, using the bodice from McCall’s 4948 Queen of Hearts. I think at the point I was making this I’d never even heard of a princess seam, so I used what I knew! The dress is made from pink duchess satin, and the detail up the front is made from grey and red bias binding sewn in place with decorative buttons. The back closes with a zipper – initially I wanted to finish it with lacing to make it more accurate for the period the game is set in, but I didn’t have time due to the constraints of the competition.

The skirt is a gathered rectangle. The edge is finished with gathered ruffles and there is a white cotton petticoat sewn into the waist of the dress, edged with two layers of lace. Because of the weight of the coat I made the dress sleeveless so it is more comfortable to wear underneath.

I made a basic hoopskirt for under the dress – it wasn’t anything fancy – just plain white cotton with a hoop in the bottom. It didn’t support much but it helped push the frills out at the bottom underneath the weight of the coat.

The coat is made from cotton poplin. I wanted something more luxurious but again, due to issues with time, I had to settle for what was available. Thankfully the material has a pleasant matte finish so this doesn’t detract from the look of the costume when it is worn. It is fully lined in light pink poplin. The coat closes with blue buttons and cord – each of the cords are elasticated at the edges so they can slip on and off.

The front trim and collar of the coat are made with faux leather, embroidered with custom patterns in multiple sections – the embroidery machine could only do 10cmx10cm panels, so it had to be done piece by piece and aligned carefully each time. I chose to use gold thread with 2-3mm wide lines to give an “embossed” look to the pattern.

The side of the coat and the front of the dress have large bows made from crushed velour. Initially I was using velvet but ran out and couldn’t source any more, so I switched the material. I feel like crushed velour is a little “too much” for this dress .. but it does suit Clara’s personality. I also like how the extra texture breaks up the plain look of the coat fabric.

The belt is made from the same faux leather as the coat trim. Strips of it were cut and sewn, braided then attached to the base belt. The belt closes at the front with a hook and bar, disguised by the buckle. The base buckle is a patterned oval with a pin from Le Prevo Leathers which was customised with the sculpey emblem.

The gloves were made with assistance from my sister from the same faux leather as the rest of the costume with a contrasting panel at the bottom. They look wonderful with the costume but are very tight, so I can’t wear them for very long. They were made using a free online glove pattern, adapted to have the additional length and contrast panel.

The boots were modified from a pair bought online. I replaced the shoe laces and attached a blue gem to the front of each shoe. Again because of the age of the reference it was hard to deem what would be “accurate” – instead I went for something that looked appropriate and had a nice heel to help elevate the costume.