- Construction Details:
This was a fun costume but time consuming to make since it included so many pieces and little details. There are a dozen different fabrics plus two sizes of gold braid, fringe, beads, tassels, and feathers so it took a while just to gather all the materials. (Neoangelwink and I joked that I was making an Amano costume! XD)
I started by making a pair of poofy white pants with ruffles at the hem and then the cream colored inner shirt with billowy sleeves and ruffles. (Yep, Ryuuren wears so many different colors that even the shirt and pants are not supposed to be the same color!)
I made the blue shirt from a dragon patterned Chinese brocade, which I thought fitting since the Ran clan’s family crest includes a pair of dragons. The bell shaped sleeves were trimmed with green brocade, gold trim, and gold fringe. The black part of the shirt was a brocade overlay and the gold trim was added with a combination of machine and hand stitching. I added snaps down the middle of the black part and made the frogs with bits of gold trim, sewing them down on one side and adding snaps to the other.
I made the green and orange apron thingy from more Chinese brocade and it closes on one side with buttons. The fringe and gold trim were sewn on by machine. The blue brocade wrap that goes around the hips was modified from a basic skirt pattern and is fully lined. I put in pleats along the sides and in the front to get the gathered look as well as cutting away some of the center front. I added little tabs to the front on both sides so I could put in buttons and buttonholes. The knot where the two sides join in the front is actually a separate loop of fabric to hide the buttons.
I made the cape from yellow wool gabardine with red silk shantung as lining and blue Chinese brocade interfaced with needlepoint canvas for the collar. The gold trim on the collar was stitched on by hand. The large frog closure was done in a manner similar to the ones on the blue shirt. Purchased tassels were stitched to the front corners of the cape.
The base of the headdress is a headband with a blue and orange brocade section in the front and a wide elastic encased in cream fabric in the back. The other fabric pieces of the headdress were sewn separately and then attached to the headband. The gem in the front is a flatback pearl piece painted with nail polish and glued into place. The flower gems on the side are actually two separate beads, a flower-shaped one with a hole in the center and a pearl, painted with nail polish and then stitched into place. I ended up having to do the headdress twice since the first one got wrecked right after a Halloween photo shoot at the botanic garden. (I took it off in the car after the shoot, didn’t realize it fell on the ground when I got out, and then my father ran over it with the car. x_x; I managed to salvage the headband part but the rest had to be remade.)
I styled my real hair for this costume by pulling it into a side ponytail and making a loop with it. It’s held in place with a lot of hair elastics and a bit of hairspray. The tiny crown around the loop was made with gold brocade; I did it the night before the garden photoshoot and meant to remake it with more jewelry-like material but haven’t gotten around to it yet. ^_^; The feathers are just stuck into the loop and stay in place because of all the hair elastics.
It took me a while to figure out what to do about the purple ornament since it’s always partly obscured by the cape in reference pics. Eventually, I decided to make it a butterfly. I used purple brocade (actually leftovers from my Kyoya vest) and made a base in the shape of the ornament. Then, I made brocade strips like I’ve used for frog buttons in the past and hand stitched them to the base for the details. I stitched a pinback to the back of the ornament so it could be pinned to the shirt and then attached the red cord, large blue bead, gold ring, and red tassel that dangle from the bottom. For the string of pearls, I just strung resin pearls on beading wire.
I couldn’t find pink bangles that I was satisfied with in terms of color and material; they were supposed to be the same color but different widths. So, I ended up buying some bangles in the right sizes and painting them with nail polish.
The flute is a cheap bamboo one that I painted with black and gold nail polish. It’s not actually playable, which is probably good considering that Ryuuren plays so badly that it makes birds fall out of the sky unconscious and I would probably be even worse! XD
- Personal Thoughts:
I finally got into this series over the summer and Ryuuren the eccentric genius was my favorite character. His antics were amusing and I loved his flashy, rainbowy outfit. I kind of want to do more of his costumes since they’re so colorful and ridiculous. :-D
The Saiunkoku group at Katsucon was fun with Neoangelwink as Shuurei and Athena as Ryuuki. Emi was supposed to join us as Eigetsu but her wig didn't arrive in time. ;_; So, we're going to try to repeat this group later on.