Now that Pax South is over and I've had a bit of a chill break, I'm itching to start sewing. Even though I have a list of cosplays I want to make, none of them are inspiring me enough to start on! I've been watching a lot of Katsucon footage, which is always my go-to for cosplay inspiration, and over the course of a few days I have concluded the following:
Really itchin to make a cosplay with beautiful brocades and silks and textures...feels like I should make an original design of something??😐— 🍄 Peony! 🍄 (@peonylang) February 27, 2017
I couldn't think of anything off the top of my head from any current shows/games, and I started to think back to the designs I loved from my first introduction of manga (CLAMP artbooks, ect). But, I started to get worried that those gowns I loved when I was twelve was just too "old school" and wouldn't be recognized. Then, on a wildly productive and slightly non sober Monday night, the gears in my head started going crazy. She was the very first entry on my Dream Cosplay List and now, I'm about to make my thirteen-year-old self very very happy. I'm going to make Belldandy!
I'm excited to finally chronicle an entire cosplay from start to finish, but first we have to make a plan!
Why I Chose This Cosplay
As I got older, I was worried that a lot of anime I considered to be uber classics, ones that I assumed EVERYONE knows, would no longer be recognized. And you know, maybe I won't bring this one to a con, but I just have to make it! I'm dying for a labor of love project and this is a good one to start on.
I started reading Ah! Megami-Sama! in, gosh, maybe 6th grade? It's a manga that is almost as old as me, the story finally finished 2014 and I feel like Belldandy in her blue goddess dress is still an iconic character. The artwork is known for having magical, angelic fabric flowing in the wind, with all these dramatic curls and folds of fabric that really put an impression on me as a kid.
Back in the mid 2000s, ponytail wigs were just not a normal thing, and I remember her trademark ponytail with allllll that hair was the main reason teenage me never attempted a Belldandy cosplay. Now seems like the perfect time to check this off my bucket list!
Materials I Have In Mind
So like I mentioned earlier, I was really drawn to the idea of working with some gorgeous fabrics. Some people really like making Worlba armor, others like to do crossplays, and for me - I like to make pretty dresses! It's something I haven't made since Asami's finale gown, and with so much more details to play with, I'm going to go all out in making an outfit that looked like it was, literally, made in Heaven.
I've decided to splurge on using my absolute favorite fabric of all time, silk dupioni. It's expensive, but for Belldandy I don't even mind a bit. It just screams royalty and riches, and sometimes it can have a two-toned effect when you look at it from a certain angle. I plan to use dupioni for her main blue outer dress and a golden brocade for the triangle trim. I've seen a few cosplayers use a triangle shaped lace trim, which I considered, but I really wanted to use something with brocade, and even though this means cutting out/appliqueing/satin stitching the trim, I feel it will be so worth it. The sleeves will be done in something light and flowy and most likely transparent, like a georgette or chiffon silk.
As far as the pattern, I'm going to have to make it up! Lots of drafting to play around with, but since it's not super form fitting (although I'd like the sides to hug my shape, the front won't need to be), I can do some draping on my sewing dummy. Once the main outfit is done, I'll add whatever details I can find locally, like beads or crystals in small details of the gown.
As for the wig, I think Arda's Jeannie in Sandy Brown is a great starting point! I'm going to have to do more reading on ponytail wigs, but this will most likely be the last part of the cosplay. I need to make the outfit first and foremost! But with a good wig, I'm hoping I can do "casual Belldandy" at later cons.
Finally, it's taking every amount of willpower not to jump off the deep end and make a pair of angel wings. I want to do it, guys! I just...might...I don't know!
So that is some brainstorming I've done for Belldandy! I don't have a specific con in mind for this, I want it to be premiered when it is ready! In the next coming days, I'll be sketching out the costume to figure out just how it functions and then getting a TON of muslin fabric to make some test shapes. I'm so excited to start!
What's your dream cosplay? Let me know in the comments!