Ami Mizuno from Sailor Moon
Character Name: Ami Mizuno (Sailor Mercury)
Series: Sailor Moon
Specifics: original anime winter school uniform
Time: ~120 hours
Started: July 2014
Completed: May 2015
Debuted: Anime North 2015
Photo credits: Sleepymeow Photography
, Cosplay For A Cure
The Kamen Riders are maskedriderwolf
and Infinity Dragon Cosplay
. The Makoto is goddessofwrithe
I've always liked the look of the school uniforms from the original Sailor Moon anime, and I've wanted to make one for a while. When my friend Becky cosplayed Usagi in her school uniform, it seemed like the perfect time to make a school uniform of my own.
I decided to cosplay Ami for three reasons. First, I like her and Usagi's school uniforms the most, and I didn't want to cosplay Usagi. Second, Ami has the most manageable wig. Third, and most importantly, Ami is a character who I have liked more and more as I've gotten older. She's smart, dedicated, and level-headed in a way I didn't appreciate as much when I was a kid.
I started patterning the top of this uniform in the summer of 2014. I spent about a week drafting my own pattern and making mock-ups. I got this costume to fit me so well because I was patient with it and fiddled with the mock-ups many, many times until I got them to look the way I wanted them to.
If you look at reference images for Usagi and Ami's school uniform, you'll notice that the top of the uniform is cut very short, and that the skirt is rather long even though it ends above the knee. I wanted to replicate these ratios, which is why I made the top a crop top. Also, the original Sailor Moon anime came out in the early 90s when crop tops where popular so I figured making the top a crop top wasn't too much of a stretch. Plus, I wanted to make the shirt short enough that it wouldn't cover the bow on the back of the skirt, and a crop top worked for this too.
There's a one inch pleat in the top of the sleeves that lines up exactly with the shoulder seams. The bottom of the sleeves are gathered into the cuffs. This gives the sleeves the poof they have in the anime, while still keeping the seams looking crisp and clean.
There are small darts in the front of the bodice which help give the top the fitted-but-flaring crop top look I wanted. The top fits on over my head, so I didn't install a zipper in it.
This was my first time patterning and making a sailor collar and it ended up taking many tries and like 30 hours to get right. I first tried out a few sailor collar tutorials I found online, but after making mocks of them, I realized that none of them sat as smoothly on my shoulders as I wanted them too. Also, I wanted to install the collar rather than have it be a separate piece that rested on top of the bodice. I finally found a tutorial by fattogami
that explained how to draft a sailor collar by using a bodice pattern, and used that to make my own sailor collar, which worked perfectly.
I carefully sewed double-fold bias tape onto the collar to create the two white lines. I was slow and patient with this process, and often re-sewed parts of it until I got the bias tape to sit straight. I looked up tutorials on how to create mitered corners in bias tape so the lines on back of the collar looked crisp. I also sewed a white facing to the inside of the collar after I attached it to the bodice so that no raw edges would be visible.
I made and installed the cuffs as if they were large pieces of double-fold bias tape. This had the added bonus of hiding the raw edges inside the sleeves. I used the same technique with the two inch band at the bottom of the shirt. I hand-sewed the insides of the cuffs and the band and this gave the costume clean edges, even on the inside.
Believe it or not, the skirt of this costume was the first pleated skirt I ever made! (Guess who hasn't cosplayed many school girls up to this point?) I looked up some tutorials online and ended up making up a pattern as I was going. I wanted the skirt to look long and still end above my knees like it does in the reference images, so I made the skirt rest at my natural waist. I figured this would complement the crop top I made and help me achieve the ratios I wanted for this costume.
It took a lot of trial and error to get the skirt length right (about two days of fiddling, honestly). I made up a way to install the zipper and ended up hiding it inside a pleat and under a fold of fabric. The skirt is closed with snaps. For my first pleated skirt, I loooove the way it came out!
I should probably mention that the blue fabric I used is a twill my friend Sakura gave me 5 metres of about a decade ago. It held the pleats really nicely. Also, because I was using free fabric, it really brought down the cost of this costume.
I used SparklePipsi's sailor bows tutorial
for the bows. Since I'm tiny, I used her front bow pattern as my back bow pattern, and made a smaller version of her pattern for the front bow. I interfaced the bows, hand-sewed them closed, and used snaps to attach them to my costume. The bows took about 10 hours to make, but I love the way they came out!
The wig is an Arda Magnum in Midnight Blue. I bought this wig from my friend Elemental, who used it for her own Sailor Mercury costume. She helped me trim the back of the wig. She also trimmed the bangs when she originally used it. I re-styled her bangs from the side-swept elegant style she had created into the 90s poof bangs I wanted. I'm thrilled with the way the wig came out, and I think it totally brought this costume together.
I wore a pair of shoes already owned, and bought a simple pair of white socks to wear with them. As for the school bag, my friend Sakura and I bought 90s anime school bags about a decade ago for cosplay reasons, and this was my first time getting to actually use it.
For a simple-looking costume, this costume took me a very long time. Including patterning, I figure this costume took me at least 120 hours to put together.
I'm very pleased by the way it came out! Along with my Robin costume, this is one of the costumes I am the most proud of when it comes to craftsmanship.
At Anime North 2015, two of my friends convinced me to enter craftsmanship judging for the first time with this costume. I ended up winning best in my class! Whoo!
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