December 22, 2014

Let's be pirate villains! – Team Aqua cosplay WIP!

Hellou guys ~

Now I will do a complete progress post of my Team Aqua Grunt cosplay from beginning to end! I didn't take a crapload of photos because most things I had to do were peruskauraa basic and not-very-interesting. But hey, without further talk let's get going, arrrh! >8D

Our Pokémon pirate villain reference,
aka male Team Aqua Grunt.
So I first started working on my Team Aqua costume on 28th July. Man, that's so long ago! I went to mom's place with Hasakitsuki because free fabrics we needed to check if mom happened to have suitable fabrics for our needs. Without much effort I found a good enough blue fabric that we decided to roll with for the Team Aqua pants and bandana; we wanted both to be of the same color, like on the reference. Next I took out mom's old pattern folders and checked through them in case there would be some close enough patterns that we could modify and use. Yeah, I'm lazy about drafting my own patterns. xD We found some generic pants pattern that we deemed suitable with some modification aka widen the legs like hell (cuz they are evenly wide and straight on the reference) and skip the pockets.
When cutting the fabric we realized a horrible death was nearing us we might not have enough blue fabric for pants and bandanas for both of our cosplays! D: After this knowledge infected our minds mom prioritized cutting out my pants first because they needed more fabric than Hasakitsuki's. Luckily after a lot of careful planning we ended up having just enough fabric after all! But it was a close call. The whole first day went into pattern searching, modifying and fabric cutting.

Cut out fabric pieces all over the chair, progress for the day.
If anyone wonders the bandana headpiece was cut out as a big triangle we actually used another bandana that mom had made long time ago as a "pattern".

On 31st July we returned to sew at mom's place because mom's high-tech sewing machine is the best. On this day I zigzaged around all my cut out pieces and sewed together my pants to the point that they, well, looked like pants. Basically only the hemming of the pant legs, circle decoration designs and the elastic waist ribbon were left.
We had decided on using the fabric paint method to make the circle designs on both sides of the pants. Speaking of which, it was a bit of a search to figure out what the designs looked like but after seeing a few more references I could make it out.

Picture from the anime showing that the circles are linked together.
(also showing that generic Grunts have different hairstyles, wohoo freedom in wig choice!)
With the help of this picture and the fact that they are after the Pokémon Kyogre which has similar linked designs I figured that the pattern most likely is identical on both sides basically just big white circles linked together by lines.
Except for working on the pants I hemmed all edges of the headpiece so that it'd look neat and crisp; the only thing left to do on it was to paint the iconic Team Aqua symbol. Mom gave us some white fabric paint that had been lying around for years and we took our almost finished bandanas home so that we could paint them at our apartment. After all, mom lives several kilometers away and she can't be bothered to drive us there every day to make cosplay progress, even though we were in a hurry. :'D

Just a photo showing how I folded the very edges
of the triangle (bandana) when I hemmed it.
We were ambitious and returned already the following day, 1st August, and this time I finished my pants completely, save for the fabric painting of course. I started with making a sort of tunnel for the elastic waist ribbon to go through. Yeah, I couldn't be bothered to use buttons/zippers... Because we had put extra centimeters at the waist when cutting out the fabric I could afford doing a 4 cm tunnel and so I did. I folded in the edge slightly for a neater finish while I pinned it in place.

Tunnel pinning in progress...
(feat. extreme camera color rape! My pants turned turquoise!!)
With the tunnel pinned I went to iron it, because ironing things makes life easier. Then I just cut out a fitting amount of white elastic (2,5 cm wide) and attached one end to a safety pin. Oh, of course before this I zigzaged the ends of the elastic so that it wouldn't fray all over the place.

Best zigzag ever. xD Not.
But yeah, I used the security pin as a tool so that I could easily feel where the elastic was inside the tunnel and pull it forward, all the way around. The other end I held tightly outside the tunnel. When I got back to where I started (there was a gap of some centimeters that I didn't stitch shut on the tunnel so that I could thread the elastic inside) I took both ends of the elastic and sewed a straight stitch to unite them.

My method of doing it. Photo taken before I sewed the elastic ends together.
I also hemmed the pant legs. Actually my pants were like king size or something because there was too much extra centimeters added to the legs when we first cut them out. Mom went like "oh these will be short on you, let's add centimeters!" and I thought the original pattern looked too long to begin with. lol
So eh, I ended up double folding the hem with 5 cm each to get the finished pants to be the right length for me. Yeah, 10 cm off. Hahah...

Pant legs folded twice and ironed in place before sewing.
Even though the pattern was widened a lot and stuff my pants didn't turn out all kinds of weird and badly fitting. Actually I was surprised how easily it went. But yeah, with all the pants sewing done I took them home to paint them as well.

On 3rd August we biked to mom's place to make some progress on the shirts as well as go fetch some scrap pieces of the blue fabric, so that we could try fabric paint on it and see how it behaves.
Earlier we had decided on using a stretchy white tricot fabric for the shirt and then make the stripes out of a similar stretchy fabric instead of painting the stripes because, well, that would take a lot of paint. But we noticed at mom's place that she had no stretchy black fabric so we had to roll with a very dark blue instead. Good enough, if you ask me.
We spent way too long cutting all the stripe pieces out of the blue-black and the white fabric and it was hellish because the fabric was alive; I swear you would have needed to hammer it in place or something when cutting because it went everywhere!

Sleeve pattern folded in half to make the dark stripe part of it.
We had counted the stripes on the reference pictures and done some calculations and I ended up with figuring out that I needed to have the stripes average at 15 cm width (excluding seam allowances) each. I also had to lengthen the very basic t-shirt pattern we used because it was both too short and not wide enough for me.
When I had cut out all the body stripe pieces as well as the sleeve pieces I just used mom's overlock machine and frankensteined them together into whole parts.

Marimekko Pirate t-shirt is taking shape!
Gotta love overlock seams! Quick and neat!
On 4th August I started the painting process of the bandana headpiece. I checked my references for the exact look of the Team Aqua symbol, did some measuring of how big I wanted it to be aka borrowed Hasakitsuki's forehead and started sketching free-handedly the symbol on some random advertisement paper. I cut it out and noticed that it wasn't perfectly symmetrical when you folded the symbol in the middle and compared left side with right side. I ended up just using the side I thought looked nicer and then just turning it upside down when I needed to draft the opposite side on the fabric. I also, of course, did some fabric paint testing on a scrap piece; turned out that this white paint isn't covering for shit! Bleh.
Still decided to use it though. It's still free paint! Oh, and if anyone wonders the brand of said paint is Palett, it's bought from Panduro in Sweden several years ago...

Fabric paint test. It looked good.. until it dried.
(pic taken directly after painting)
Team Aqua symbol cut out...
.. and drafted on the middle of the bandana.
I kept adding layer after layer each time the previous one had dried. Well, at least the paint dried quickly so there wasn't much waiting time between painting the layers. I had to be very careful though because I was hand painting with a small brush; if I did a mistake even once on one of the layers it would have bothered me on the finished product. :C  Luckily I didn't end up with paint where I didn't want it and so 5+ layers later way too many layers the symbol had turned opaque enough to receive the sign of my approval.

Good enough. 8C
5th August we went to mom's place again this time with bus because biking blörgh and this time I finished my shirt; I started with sewing the shoulder seams and then attaching the sleeves to the garment with the overlock, because it's faster. The sleeves went on without any problems and then I just sewed them closed (not the arm hole but yeah, you know xD) and all the way down the side seam on the same go.

Sleeves attached...
It's starting to look like something!
With the side seams closed I only had the smaller details to do and these finishing touches I did with the usual sewing machine. I first zigzaged the sleeve openings, the collar and the shirt bottom hem and then I went to do the hemming folds and ironed them (less annoying when you sew them down) and folded twice. I think it looks neater when it's folded twice because then you can't catch a glimpse of random zigzaged ends poking out from inside etc. But yeah, fold twice, straight stitch and go! BOOM! Finished Team Aqua Grunt shirt! 8D

Sleeve hemming in progress.
At this point the progress slowed down a lot because August was filled with anime events for us two and so we were traveling all over Sweden and Finland. We missed the original deadline anyway.
But I did manage to get my hands on some stuff that I would need for the Team Aqua cosplay during these stressy times! During Nerdcon on 16th August Hitsu went to fetch me some white fabric paint that was meant for darker fabric colors (turns out the one I had used previously was for light fabrics no wonder it sucked!) while I was working in the con's cafeteria. Also on the beginning of September me and Hasakitsuki went into a Tokmanni store and found a cheapo 2-pack of black fabric gloves that we decided were close enough and thus bought

After half a forever of no progress finally on 20th December I drafted a big circle on some pattern paper. Said circle was of course for the design of the pants. I just took some measures to figure out the best size for the circle pattern and used a round candy box and the bottom of a bottle of gesso to draw a perfect circle, hihi. Later on the same day me and Hasakitsuki went to Jäätynyt Enkeli's place lack of space at home to draw the outlines of the circle design on the pants. It was quite rage inducing because obviously the pants were already sewn together and the elastic at the waist kept wrinkling the upper part of the pants and so, well, when you were drawing the last half circle on the top the elastic made horrible bumps in the fabric and just wouldn't stay flat! I ragequitted and drew the last circle half free-handedly and yeah, it turned into a potato. :<

Ring design drafted on pants with pencil.
The following day I returned to Jäätynyt Enkeli's place alone to start painting the pants. I must say that the new fabric paint made a huge difference! Now I only needed to do two layers to have an opaque white color! Note to self: Pay attention to if the fabric paint is meant for light or dark fabrics, it makes your life easier. So yeah, I just spread out my pant leg(s) on the kitchen table, shoved some newspapers inside the pant leg that I was about to paint first and started painting!

Painting in progress. (first layer of paint)
Jäätynyt Enkeli gave me some assistance in pulling the pants at the waist elastic while I painted the design there and he also helped me paint a bit of the first few rings on the second pant leg, to speed things up a bit so that we had more time to play Monster Hunter afterwards.

One side completed!
Now everything's done! I just need to set all the painted areas with heat, but I'd rather wait 24 hours before I go put my iron anywhere. x) That concludes my Team Aqua Grunt progress post!

Team Aqua Grunt preview and possible photoshoot will come later! See ya!
Shiro Samurai out!


Jäätynyt Enkeli said...

Looking great bro! I look forward to see this cosplay debuted whenever that will be. Totally hyped about doing a Team Rocket grunt myself now, haha! :D

Psycho Cat said...

Oh this reminds me that always wanted to do a Team Magma Grunt cosplay. I have always loved that design they have. Also it looks freaking great, your progress on this one, it will be fun to see the end result on this one =D

Sipsinekku said...

huu, hyvältä näyttää! millonkoha mä saisin sen manga-asun tehtyä, sitä ku on jostai 2009 asti suunnitellu :'DD