Lulu - Final Fantasy 10
Why I chose to make this costume:
From the first moment I laid eyes on the design I wanted to have this outfit. Lulu is the most intriguing Final Fantasy Character, in looks and personality, so of course I could not pass up the chance to make her costume.
How I made this costume:
First of all I would like to note that I took the liberty to add a personal touch to Lulu's character design in order to bring the costume to life. At the point of this project, I had been sewing costumes for a while and while making something accurately down to the last detail can be fun, it left little to no room for my own creativity. To this day, you will find details on my costume that give the design a little more depth and texture and make them stand out a bit more.
Onto making Lulu: I looked for a while for the grey fabric and found a beautiful rubber coated upholstery pleather that had a sheen and weight to it. I made my own pattern for the skirt and sleeves, and altered a historical corset pattern for the fur trimmed corset. I sewed the basic pieces together and made sure they fit and attached right. I bought a fur stole on eBay and cut it up, re-lined it, and sewed it to the corset which is also lined and has grey trim hand stitched on the seams. I made the little criss-cross belts for the sleeves by covering nylon straps with pleather and putting silver buckles on them. Overall, the belts were the most difficult part to work on, as I had to figure out how to attach them to the skirt without pulling everything out of shape and being too heavy. In the end I made a separate panel of belts that snaps around my waist and is supported. I probably bought 50+ leather belts at all the thrift stores I could raid lol.
Even though the belts were a pain, making the jewelry/hair accessories and embellishing the costume took the most time - over two weeks. I made the four hair sticks out of a variety of materials such as wooden sticks, wire, model magic, sheet metal, lace, and beads. The necklaces were also fun to make, and I sculpted each of the purple disk beads. Painting the jewelry and hair sticks took over 2 days alone as I kept going back with layers of paint to achieve the gradient effect. I used a wig for this costume, and lots of hair extensions which I had to braid and sew together.
Lastly, I did a lot of beading for this costume, such as adding my hand beaded original trim onto the corset to make it pop more, and a ton of glass and gold beads in the hair braids. I also hand-painted all the lace trim on the dress and sleeves and sewed them individually on, creating a pattern inspired by Lulu's character design artwork.
Thoughts on this costume:
I am 90% happy with the finished costume. It has definitely been one of my best received costumes, but construction wise I can see places where I could have improved, if I had had the knowledge I have now. Several years ago I was really in a financial bind and got a great offer on the Lulu costume, so I sold it to a new happy owner. Since then I've been thinking of making another Lulu costume, and do the corset with steel boning this time and make the belt structure lighter and the skirt out of a more stress-resistant material.