I know it may seem strange to break out the sleeves into their own post when I covered the entire dress construction in the previous post. My approach on writing is the time spent on parts and I spent DAYS constructing the sleeves. They deserve some time in the spotlight.
This is a three part series of how I constructed my Sailor Moon Crystal Princess Serenity Light Up Dress Cosplay.
Part I - The Dress
Part II - The Sleeves
Part III - The Overlay and Accessories (Coming Soon)
How did you cut your fabric?
Sewing circles is my enemy. I never like it and circles don't like me. My goal was to have sleeves that had a flat back for easy sewing, but a circle front I could puff out with some stuffing. I really liked the approach over at My Cute Bow for creating an elastic white band around your arm that you attach your sleeve puff to.
I made a circle with tails that I could overlap to sew together. See?
|From finished cut to template|
How did you do your loops?
Princess Serenity's sleeve design mimics a greek column scroll in all versions of the dress.
A popular cosplay approach is to roll the fabric into a ball to create the lines. This looks fabulous and adds depth to the sleeves. However, I wanted to stay closer to Sailor Moon Crystal which has gold scrolls. I tried painting the scrolls, but it looked flat. I even experimented with outlining the paint in metallic gold thread, but it wasn't the look I imaged. Break out the ribbon!
|Fabric test with painted scrolls and start of thread outline. Not bad, but not what I was looking for.|
|Ribbon attached to the circle finally!|
My original plan was to have no lights in the sleeves. Once you start adding lights, you want more. I remember from light tests with the front circles (boob circles as some friends called them) that craft foam would block light.
|My Serenity foam piece to block light in unwanted places.|
Like a crazy pumpkin pattern, I cut the scroll pattern out of the foam pieces. To check the cut, I would pin the foam to the sleeve and shine a light through the bottom. A glass coffee table was very handy for this process.
|Foam is pinned into place to make sure the cuts are the correct width before gluing down.|
What lights did you use?
I had plenty of white fairy lights left from my front piece. I cut stripes for each sleeve front that contained 4 lights I could bury in the stuffing.
|A few led lights rolled into a circle. Ready to go in the sleeves!|
|Light it up! Sleeves with lit golden scrolls|
Thank the cosplay gods for that Sailor Moon Crystal sleeve design! In Crystal, you can see you have two circles, front and back, with a rectangle connecting the two pieces. The rectangle even folds out a bit and has little flaps! I created a pouch between the two circles that the batter could live in. A two coin cell battery holder powers each sleeve.
|Sleeve before covering up the battery. I sewed a pocket to help keep things in place.|
Glue!! I was afraid to glue the ribbon down because I thought it would show in the lights. I did some testing with glue towards the end and noticed it did not show though. I could have been using it the whole time. Test early and test often.
I also should have done more to insulate my solder points. The tails on the circle allow me to only undo a few stitches to get into the electrical wiring. A good call in hindsight as I had to go into one scroll twice for repairs.
That's it for part II! I'll wrap up the final post after Dragon Con.