Learning Curves: Fixer-Upper

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Kicking things off with the first photoshoot of 2015! Felixize, Arphrial, my sister and myself went off on a castle adventure to get some photos of Alisha from Tales of Zestiria to prepare for the game’s launch in Japan on 22nd January!

This is just a glimpse of the shoot for now, I’ll be uploading a complete photoset later. But before we went off for photos, I fixed a lot on the costume. Looking back at the previous photos there was a lot I wasn’t happy with, and with no other costumes on the go I figured I’d take the time to fix her up. It’s still not perfect, but what an improvement a few hours work made to the costume. I won’t go on too long, but I wanted to write up a few improvements I made.

The original costume was very “boxy” for lack of a better term. It made me look wide. So after careful pinning, I took in the dress by a few inches at the waist, and took in the side trim on the tunic to make it more fitted. It’s not that noticeable on first glance but it makes the costume hang much nicer, too. The bodysuit had the shorts shortened and the neck taken in to help create the point on the collar. Also small changes, but ones that made a huge difference – my legs looked thinner, neck looked longer, etc.

I also remade the socks completely. Before I wore plain white socks with the suspender panels pinned to them. This time I made them from scratch and attached the suspenders with snap fasteners. The tops were made as single panels and attached to black legs. They’re much more accurate and more comfortable to wear, too!


But the biggest improvement was the wig. The wig is actually the same one as before, just with a bit of effort involved. The fringe was far too thick before, and the ponytail was too condensed. It looks like two lumps on my head instead of hair. So I thinned, trimmed and roughly styled it to match the reference. Her hair is quite messy on the reference and I hate “anime style” wigs, so I went for a more natural take on her hairstyle, but still with the different lengths. I look back on the wig before and wonder how I ever thought it looked okay… I think the updated style is a HUGE improvement, and really ties the whole costume together.

Surprisingly (and frustratingly) none of the armour needed any fixing, despite being my first attempt and not being something I’m good at. Ho hum. I was both glad and a little peeved that everything still worked and looked good, where the sewing (the bit I was most proud of) needed fixes left, right and centre. I guess I’ll know for next time!

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Still, when I made Alisha I had around 5 very rough references to hand, and despite having next to nothing to work from I don’t think the costume turned out badly at all. It’s actually kind of nice now that there is more information and references to see how it compares! The main differences are things like the bodysuit – Alisha has a blouse and shorts instead, with a suspender belt to hoist her stockings. But all of this is covered by the dress and tunic anyway, so I’m not planning to remake it.

Other little details like the front of the pink dress I guessed from previous Tales designs, and to my joy it’s pretty much spot on too. So everything worked out pretty well. Again, not everything is accurate, but from the few references I had at the time I’m pretty happy with it. And as long as I keep improving it I can’t see any reason not to be!

2015 has been a nice year of reflection and improvement so far – let’s hope it keeps up!

Posted on January 13, 2015 in Cosplay, Learning Curves, photosets
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