The first time I made my own piece of clothing without a pattern and without modifying another existing piece of clothing, it worked out better than I expected, truth be told. It still felt awful to wear and tugged in all the wrong places, but it was something I could put on. It was this shirt right here.
Looking at this shirt, it’s probably not readily apparent where the flaws are. I know that they’re in the fit of the shoulders and arms, primarily. The sleeves are a little too snug on the bicep, the top of the shoulders is weirdly flat and it’s hard for me to actually put my arm over my head like in that photo. It looked okay and felt terrible, but hey, I made it myself!
So how did Baby Jay at the ripe ol’ age of 14 manage a semi-functional garment? The pattern looked something like this:
Now, how do I know that’s what it looked like over 15 years later?
Easy, it’s the same exact pattern I used when making Anders in 2012:
And again with Nathaniel in 2013:
And all of our Attack On Titan jackets in 2014? You guessed it!
What about Kenny Crow in 2017?
Okay, but surely in 2018 I did Leo differe–
Nope! Every single one of these costumes started with that same rough shape, even if some pieces got changed around slightly. At this point in my cosplay career, I’m not afraid of making really bizarre patterns or things that are super tightly tailored, but that’s because I have the foundation necessary to tackle weirdness and alterations.
When Octopath Traveler came out, I was beyond excited to dive into it and really see what it had to offer. With 8 main characters, it seemed tailor-made for our usual group plus a few of our usual add-on members, but I ended up struggling to figure out which character best suited me and that I liked. Glitz was a shoe-in for Cyrus but despite my appreciation of Therion, I realized halfway into making him that I just… wouldn’t look good. I wouldn’t look decent. It was going to be a hot mess, and it wouldn’t be fun for me as a result.
OPT was really fun and had a lot of really beautiful character designs, so it wasn’t hard to find secondary characters that appealed to me. I initially fell in love with Captain Leon, but alas! There’s no actual art of him, only his overworld sprite. That, coupled with the lack of a confirmed Tressa for our group, left me with the understanding that I would be the ‘can you move so I can get a picture of the Octopaths?’ guy if I were to commit to him.
My second choice went to Erhardt who had a lovely battle sprite and some concept art to base my costume decisions on. His outfit was also a pallette swap of Olberic’s default costume, so any further details I would be able to glean from the more detailed and varied artwork available for him.
The problem arose again: would anyone recognize me without an Olberic for context? Thankfully, after making Alfyn, Type09 decided that he wanted to do the Warmaster variant of Olberic, so I set out to finally make my own Octopath costume!
When starting on Forrest, there were a lot of things that I would be doing for the first time (or pseudo-first time, at least!) and not least of which was the wig. Forrest has very distinctive, huge sausage curls in typical Nohrian royal fashion, so I knew rollers wouldn’t cut it. I’d have to go bigger and fuller for the right look.
Last year, Fire Emblem Heroes dropped a Spring banner with brand new, beautiful bunny versions of Xander, Camilla, Chrom and Lucina.
We fell in love immediately with these designs and Glitz claimed Xander without hesitation. I didn’t want to be left out, but what was I supposed to do? Let’s face it, I just wasn’t cut out for Camilla. I also don’t have a particular affinity for Chrom or Lucina, so they were also out.
I initially decided to do a version of Leo for myself, using slightly different colors. I sketched it out quickly but never got around to doing it, or Spring Xander for that matter. Both got shelved when we had to put all of our cosplay plans on hold due to financial issues and we didn’t dig them back up until Spring 2018.
Though we’ve still had a rocky money situation, I thought we could squeeze in a cosplay or two for the first half of the cosplay season. I rethought my Leo plans to use the same fabric as Xander, but the price tag seemed out of our range.
That’s when the plans shifted.
While digging around for a few supplies, I stumbled upon a single piece of folded fabric that I couldn’t remember ever getting. It was a piece of blue stretch velvet that had once been a curtain and it was just enough to make a tailcoat from.
Instead of Spring Leo, I was going to be Winter Leo.
Ah, do you hear that? It’s an excuse to make an iconic piece of video game history without actually wanting to cosplay the character myself. Don’t mind if I do!
The commission for Cloud’s armor and the Buster Sword came through and I absolutely could not wait to get started. He wanted them to be durable so that he didn’t have worry about about them getting damaged during wear, so I decided to go with a foam core and thermoplastic shell. Since the Buster Sword was going to be the biggest user of materials and had relatively few fussy, rounded pieces, we decided to go with Wonderflex. It’s about half as expensive as Worbla but works best with flat pieces.
Here’s a step-by-step follow-along on how to proportion this oversized toothpick properly!