The Swan Princess
While I was constructing Sailor Neptune, the color scheme seemed strikingly familiar, and when I realized it was Princess Odette that was striking a familiar color resemblance, I got to thinking.... why not do both at the same time?
That wouldn't be the first time I did two projects at once because of their similar color schemes! I did the same for Star Wars Jasmine and Red Esmeralda for ColossalCon 2014. I just get really into the colors, and it's so much easier to multitask since I don't have to constantly change thread colors if two projects are roughly the same fabrics and color schemes!
Anyways, aside from that, Odette is a long forgotten and underappreciated princess that I really wanted to pay homage to for a while. Plus those poofy sleeves looked WAY too fun to pattern, and I wasn't wrong! It was a blast to make this costume, and I still want to add more to it!
A LOT went into making this piece that is difficult to see from a distance or just from full body photos. I'll have to upload some detail shots in the near future so you can truly grasp the level of craftsmanship and attention to detail that went into this costume. Despite how simple in appearance Odette's dress looks, I spent a great deal of effort to make the dress appear, well... not simple!
White was also a tricky color for translating a cartoon ballgown into a real life costume. I feared it would either go one of two ways- it would look like a fantasy costume bridal gown (like a period festival), or if done too simple, would appear like a white sleeping gown. So I tried to incorporate a subtle but tasteful level of texture and bling! In the end, I'm supremely happy with the results, and it's one of my favorites, craftsmanship-wise!
Started: January 2017
Completed: February 2017
Wig by: Arda Wigs
Worn at: KatsuCon 2017, ShumatsuCon 2017,
Awards: Judge's Choice- ShumatsuCon 2017,
Runner-Up Masters- MatsuriCon 2018
About This Costume
There's certainly a lot to go over, so let's begin with the bodice, definitely the jewel of the piece! The shell of the bodice was modified from my Aurora pattern, since they both have sleeves that meet the bodice at roughly the same angles and locations. It is lined with Casa Satin, as well as faced with it- both layers being interfaced with featherweight fusible web. The lining layer also has plastic boning installed to help the bodice keep its shape!
The outer layer of the bodice is adorned with a white sequin in mesh for a subtle touch of glamour! The sequins are in a gorgeous art deco design, and I painstakingly aligned the cuts so that the would match up at the seams, and compliment the flow of the garment as much as possible. To prevent sagging, since the sequins were on stretch mesh and I was unable to fuse it to the satin, I very meticulously stitched lines hidden along the sequins in calculated patterns so that I could ensure a clean and smooth layering of two vastly different materials.
The sleeves! Oh the sleeves. Definitely the most challenging process of this whole outfit. Over all my patterning was fairly spot-on aside from the cuff, which came out too wide the first time. But it was after I had already installed the sleeve that I found a gorgeous teal glitter organza that I wanted to layer over the brighter teal to not only add body and drama, but to match the art references where her sleeve caps appear slightly darker. Then I installed it again and realized I was having issues keeping the sleeves on. So I created some bias-cut straps to attach to the bodice and anchor the sleeves to so they would not keep falling off my shoulders. This worked exceedingly well and I wish I had written down the exact installation process because I can't quite remember how I pulled that one off!
The two white sleeve puffs are one whole unit, gathered in the middle, and the cuff attached separately. The teal bands are straps I cut out of the teal satin, stitched over the gathered areas of the sleeves, and then layered with a scalloped organza ribbon, stitched down again in the middle, and lined with teal rhinestones over that stitch for a truly magical touch!
The bodice was finished off with all hand-stitched and hand-made satin bias tape on the lower edge. The neckline on front and back also feature hand-stitched bands in teal. And still more hand sewing.... I attached the gem on the neckline and the gold accent trim that runs down the center front by good ol' needle and thread also! The back of the bodice laces up with a matching teal ribbon. To install the grommets, I melted through all the layers using a soldering iron- only possible since ALL the layers were synthetic- which made for an incredibly fast and easy installation process! It took me about an hour to do all the grommets, where as Aurora took me nearly six, since I used an awl and thread snips to cut through all the layers.
So wow- that was ALL just for the bodice. Holy cow. Things get a bit easier from here though! The skirt was a very basic three-panel ballgown skirt, very easy to construct, with an elastic waistband for comfort, and invisible zipper for easy in/out. Beneath that layer is actually my white Elena skirt, which helps to soften the rough tulle that gives the skirt its body and dimension! There are two tulle skirts- a short soft tulle, and a longer rough tulle, both using 10 yards of length in their skirts. And to keep my legs from itching or feeling too clammy under all those layers, I wear a pair of breezy crepe bloomers with elastic waistband and lace on the cuff hems!
The belt or sash, whatever you wanna call it, were done separate of the bodice and skirt. Just figured it would make things easier to build. To avoid having snaps in the back of the belt, I hid them under the gold belt "buckle" in the front, which ended up being a quite intricate puzzle of snaps. I also spray painted the buckle (which is actually a large necklace piece, hand-stitched to the belt) and affixed 55+ rhinestones to it.
The necklace was reused from my Sheryl Nome Star Date cosplay, and affixed to a ribbon with a choker-style closure in back. The wig was from Arda, and styled with an immense amount of back-combing and almost a whole can of hair spray! For a finishing touch, I made a little hair clip for Odette with feathers and rhinestones, almost like a fascinator, just to pay some homage to her swan form.