With this entry, and future ones, I hope to be able to break down and go over different costumes I’m working on. So you can see the work that’s gone into making a costume, or maybe something to help you if you’re working on something similar. For this entry I’m going over how I made my Meiko costume from Vocaloid.
Vocaloid is a music vocal synthesizing program that you can use to create music or replicate songs. It can create different robotic sounding voices as well as accompanying music to go along with it. Each program has a specific voice/character to go along with it, so you can make a song with a particular character. The program started off with the Meiko and Kaito programs, male and female voices, but took off with the Hatsune Miku program. Vocaloid has taken Japan by storm, still popular even today with Hatsune Miku as its mascot. Since her, there’s been many more programs created based off of it.
Vocaloid has become so popular because it’s entirely fan created content. People create and produce the songs, share them for free. The songs created have accompanying videos to tell a story, or act as a music video for the particular song. While some people have made single songs, others have created large narratives and personalities for the different characters. The particular outfit I decided to make was Meiko’s from the song Senbonzakura. The song itself is about westernization in Japan and definitely worth a listen to. I decided on Meiko because she’s one of my favorites, and I liked her alternate outfit from the videos the best.
Looking at the reference, the best way to go about making this is to break down the different pieces of costume and work on them bit by bit. Her costume breaks down into a jacket, skirt, hat and boots.
Before anything was sewn together, after I cut out all my fabric, I used my serger to finish the pieces. Doing that, made sure the fabric wouldn’t fray when I was working on it. It also finishes the garments when everything is sewn together. If you have a serger I’d recommend doing this first, if not, you can use a basic zigzag stitch on your machine and it does about the same thing.
The first thing I decided to work on was the top. I was lucky enough to already have a pattern ready and fitted for me. I used the same pattern top as I used for my Iroha (from a Japanese rhythm game called IIDX) costume, Simplicity 2341. Since it had all the same seams and shape I wanted, I just needed a different set of sleeves. The top zips up in the front, I used an invisible zipper, the white detail is top stitched down to hide the zipper a bit more.
The breast pockets are fake, since the top is so fitted, I didn’t want to mess with that and create a real pocket, have it affect the fit. The fabric is just folded over and top stitched down. The two shoulder parts aren’t really completely sewn down. After I did the bias detail, I used the two buttons to sew them down, so when I attached the tassel it had something to wrap around.
The collar is interfaced and sewn down, based similar to the collar I had for Iroha. For anyone who doesn’t know what interfacing is, it’s a bonding material that’ll stiffen your fabric. So if you want something to lay crisp, like a collar, you interface it. Interface is usually laid in between fabric so you don’t see it. You bond it to the fabric through heat, like an iron. Depending on the type of interfacing will be how stiff the fabric will be. I chose a light interface, so the collar would stay up, but not be too ridged.
The skirt was a basic mini skirt. I had Simplicity 2564, which was a basic pencil skirt pattern. I shortened it to what I needed it to be. Like the collar I made sure to interface the waistband.
The sleeves were modified from a basic long sleeved pattern. I just had to make sure that where the elbows are, I made sure to extend the sleeves down at least 26-30”. It was really just a trial and error sort of method. Normally I like to be more exact with my measurements, but since I had so much left over fabric I could afford to guess a bit more and cut down to what I needed. Looking off of the reference, I actually made my sleeves a bit shorter then what she has there, but I decided that was a better idea, because it fit a functional purpose to have them a bit shorter.
The patterns on the one sleeve and the back were painted on using fabric paint. Fabric paint is specifically made for fabric, so that it won’t chip or flake away. It’s also made to be machine washable as well. You paint with it like any normal paint. I needed a very specific color, so I ended up mixing three different colors of paint; tulips brown and black with jacquards dark red. For the flower patterns I created a stencil on my computer and used freezer paper as my pattern base. Freezer paper has a paper side and a waxy side, you draw on the paper side, cut out the pattern and then you use heat (like an iron) to adhere the waxy side down to the fabric. When you’re finished painting you can easily peal the paper off and you’ll have your pattern easily painted. There was a few parts I needed to touch up afterwards, but for the most part I got a clean pattern.
The last thing I needed to do was the hat. Since I wasn’t about to make a hat from scratch, I found the closest base I could work off of. Once I got the hat, I sewed a cover to go on top of that. The red parts are just covers, so if I wanted to, I could take it off and change it if need be. The cover is only hand stitched on, it’s strong enough to cover but easy to remove if need be.
The rest of the details are things that I bought, or already had. The shoes are borrowed from a friend. Since they’re rather long on me, I had to fold them over to fit my legs. The stocking and the garters were something I already owned. And the gloves were something that I had bought. I’ve known some cosplayers to make their own gloves, but for something so basic I really didn’t want to waste the time. The wig was something I had already owned. Her hair is fairly basic, but it wasn’t close to what I had my hair at the time, so used a wig I already owned.
That’s how I basically put together my Meiko cosplay. I hope this helped someone who is making something similar, or wanted to see the process of making a costume.