Cloth is very important

So let's start with a bit of how I made Amir. Like I said earlier this has been a dream costume of mine ever since the manga started, but I didn't start working on it right away. Firstly, I knew it would be really labor intensive and there always seemed to be reasons to make other costumes. Secondly I knew I wanted to use good materials and that takes money.  So I kept having it on my 'someday' folder until we were discussing our options for the WCS preliminaries and yumi brought Otoyomegatari up as one of the possibilities. Honestly I felt like this would be the perfect place for this cosplay, what ever happened in the actual competition. I'm really happy I got to bring Amir to a stage.

Photo by Mikael Peltomaa

Amir's referenses are really, let's say fluid. There are a lot of detailed pictures from almost every angle, but the details keep changing all the time. I wanted to make a general version of the character, not just a certain version from a certain page. I used the cover of the second book as my main- and color reference. Some things though, like the sleeves are different because they are different throughout the manga and in the end I followed the most common design.
All in all Amir is my most expensive cosplay so far, and the weirdest part was that it didn't feel like I was making cosplay per se. It felt like I was making real, usable clothes(which they pretty much are). This even led to a small crisis because I felt like I didn't get to do any cosplaystuff during the summer while I was, in fact working on a very detailed cosplay.
Complaining to my pair and trying to decide which ref to use
 I started from the underlayers, the pants and the tunic. The fabric is a mix of some sort, it has a bit of stretch, nice thickness and weight and the best part; it's doesn't practically wrinkle at all. We coordinated with yumi on this, and her dress is the same fabric. We also have the same materials for the bootcovers, and her jacket has the same black wool and the red suedette as mine.
Since the source was a manga, some of the details were a bit vague simply because they hadn't been drawn properly/big/detailed enough, so there was a little bit of room for interpretation. I had to decide the pattern on the pants based on a tiny scribble on one panel of the manga. The same went with the socks (which I just realized I don't have a photo of).

The skirt fabric was the hardest one to find, it took over two months before I actually bought one. You'd think that a nice off white fabric with a bit of weight and thickness to it was easy to find but nope. It's either paper white, twill, or jersey. It was my first circle skirt, and took about week to embroider with work and stuff going on. If you're ever wondering, stripes are the slowest thing to embroider. Ever. The skirt is hemmed by hand, as are the edges and I even made the buttonhole by hand.

The tunic is made from a basicpattern I got in the spring for myself, I just had to draft the collar by myself. The pattern on it is also very ambiguous, as it keeps changing from picture to picture. I tried to design it with the feeling you get from the manga, but it's impossible to copy it exactly from it. You almost never see all of the design at once. There were also different ways of how the pattern circled the hem, so I just chose one picture and based the design on that. The manga shows that the pieces are not in fact lined, but I lined some parts for convenience. The tunic is hemmed by hand.

I made a stencil and used a disappearing marker to draw the design on the fabric. The best marker ever.

I thought the belt fabric would be the hardest to find because of the odd, desaturated orange-ish, brownish brickcolor, but I actually just walked in to the store and picked it from the first box of fabrics I tried. I wish it was always that easy! The stripes are painted with fabric paint. I was planning on maybe embroidering them on first, but you can kind of see it from the manga that some of the fabrics are more likely printed or knitted and imported, and not embroidered. This is also why yumi decided to print Pariya's scarf, and it would match if I did the same.

The first try was definitely too thick
The jacket was the scariest part of the whole things on mostly just because of the patterning, and because I wanted to get it right. In the end I was being really careful not to make it too small and I'm going to still take it in a notch to have it fit a bit better. I was worried that the tunic might not fit under if I made it too small by accident. I bought the wool for the jacket over a year ago, because I happened to finally find the kind that I could actually afford. I'm glad I did it back then because the quality of the said product varies greatly and I got really lucky. I'm super happy that my batch had this fine almost 'fur like' surface with a tiny sheen almost if you look at it closely. I was only worried if I bought enough but it turned out I had plenty to make the jacket. The red stripes are red suedette. I wanted to use fake suede to have a bit more of the rural feeling plus the only other option was pretty much felt. The only problem was that it was a pain in the butt to embroider and took ages, because the needlework was so slow oh gods. I had to use fusible interfacing on all the pieces to eliminate the stretch of the fabric, and fake suede/suedette is quite dense so it was a fight to get the needle through. I honestly don't want to embroider any suede in a while if I can avoid it :'D
This time I actually made prototypes for the patterns and I admit it was a good thing. yumi  was a darling and helped me to check the fit and make sure it was good. Only the sleeves caused a bit of a headache, but in the end we got the odd shape to work.

Apologies for the mess, you know how it is when you're making a cosplay right, and about the photo quality, most of these were just to send some progress via messenger to my partner in crime.
I used old grey leather scraps for the circles
close up of the back square, 'cause they turned out quite nice

testing methods to make the little nibs

Bootcovers were pretty straightforward, made the pattern the usual way, used worbla to create the persian tip like I always do (all except one of my costumes this year have had persian tips, whyyyy) and this time also the heel because the original heel was way too narrow and was actually not supposed to be there. And because yumi is actually so much taller than me I'm also wearing extra 4cm hidden heel in the boots. The brown fabric is stretch suedette and the patterns are non-stretch. The nibs were embroidered.

The hat has a felt structure and the wool is sewn on after it was embroidered. Rather straightforward again. For the white circles I ordered flat opaque white sequins from Etsy, and the ones I found happened to be french pre-WW2 vintage sequins. Not that it matters but I think it's a fun detail.
This was definitely one of my favorite parts to make. Though surprisingly I really liked the boots too.

almost made the squiggly things wrong shape at first 

The first thing I made for this costume were the earrings. The masters were made with apoxie sculpt on PVC plastic. The earring parts, all the red gems and their settings, all the coins, the beads of the tumarsha, and the little bits in the bells on it were cast in resin. I also cast all the coins and earring parts for yumi's Pariya. The bracelets and the scarf amulet were PVC plastic with some apoxie and the resin gems. Again, the references varied a lot and I simply chose some panels as references for the parts. The tumarsha was made from a cardboard tube with wooden pearls and I used apoxie, worbla and PVC for the details. The diamond shaped beads and the little bells are worbla.

master for Pariya's earring, yumi sanded the little tooth master herself

Photo by Teppo Suominen

Photo by Teppo Suominen
The quiver is felt with lightblue and beige suede over it, the red patterns are embroidered. Again, the reference caused a bit of trouble. The cover image I used shows a small part of the quiver as very grey-blue, and then one of the backcovers show a very small picture of the quiver with rich patterns and more colors. Then there's one early art(?)/consept(?) picture that shows the quiver quite well, but the design is again a bit different. I ended up using that picture for the color and otherwise took the design from inside the manga.

Just missing the white lines
 I don't have a separate image of the arrows, but I made them the 'traditional' way, splitting feathers and using red and blue silk thread to decorate them. The bow was intimidating to make since I haven't really worked with wood before and I didn't know how difficult it would prove to be. Luckily I was able to access real tools and facilities to make it, and in the end it was so much easier than what I feared. It was a rather nice experience, and I'd be happy to make something from wood again. The bow separates to two parts for easier travel, and the handle is covered with scrap leather from an old jacket.
I only have a photo of the pattern, sorry~

And last, since I always need a pocket, I made a small pouch to match the jacket. I embroidered the knots on this too but only after taking the picture it seems. They show little embroidered pouches in the manga, and this is very much the same style as in many Finnish national costumes so it felt fitting. It's hidden under the jacket and the tunic anyway.

It's a pity that in the official photos I don't look like myself at all, so you'll have to wait until we get to have a small photoshoot (soon soon!) to get more photos of the whole costume.
I'm actually pretty happy with everything, and I think I will only do a little tweaking to improve it a bit. Take the jacket in a bit, and repaint the jewelry with a better basecolor for example.

To end with just a quick word about the props in case anyone is actually interested. For the clayoven we had a wooden frame that we could put together and take apart so it would be possible to transport it in a car, covered with a hood that was stapled on place. The lid is made from EVA foam and painted and took like 15 minutes to make, and the 'breads' are sculpted from finnfoam with a layer of woodglue and painted. We needed two of each, the raw and the baked versions. The carpet was a freebie from the recyclingcenter (student budget here).

that's pretty much all the floorspace in our livingroom and that's why I don't make big costumes 
I'm actually superhappy about going to WCS at this point, because I'm (most hopefully) graduating soon and everything after that is a huge question mark. Most of all it means that I'll need a fulltime job somewhere and I have no idea where that will take me. We also discussed a little bit about if we would try again next year if we didn't win now, and we were both a bit unsure if we'd be in a position to do so. Especially since this whole thing was such a big and long project, from the last Tracon all the way to the preliminaries this year. Though I'm pretty sure after the first time the next is always easier. 

I find it really hard to concentrate on just one costume at a time, unless it's the last two weeks before a con, so this summer was super challenging. Now I'm on a 'make everything' -frenzy and starting things I haven't actually planned to do along with things I've really wanted to do for a long time and my brain is just overflowing with inspiration to make everything right now. Let's see what my next fully finished costume will be, I have three or four that my brain want to be completing this fall  :D

Sorry for such a superlong post! Next I'll try to post some old wip photos of my last ...three or four cosplays before Amir~


  1. I worship you, oh casting master!

    Ja vielä hirmuna onnea!

    1. AaaAa hei tajusin vasta että olit muuten yksi kisaajista! Sanoin sen jo aiemmin mutta sanon vielä uudestaan että ihan mielettömän hieno se päähine!

    2. Ööööäääääää! Kiitoos ❤


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