Hello everyone! Today we’re pleased to announce that the incredible SparklePipsi has generously granted us permission via license to include her original bow patterns on our website. In this tutorial, we’re going to discuss how we modify her bow pattern to work for our classic bows.
Note: If you’d like to download the files with the alterations already made, you can sign up for our Patreon!
Print off a copy of the bow loop piece (Alternatively, you can print off two copies to make a full oval for easier cutting). Make sure when you print that your printer is set to print at 100% scale for accuracy.
For the bow piece, we are going to move the fold from the center (smaller) side of the bow to the outside. When cut, this will result in a large oval, as outlined in our bow tutorial.
To make life easier, you may want to repeat this process for the interfacing pieces. The only additional alteration you’ll make is cutting off the ½” seam allowance, as shown below.
Note that the tail piece included in SparklePipsi’s pattern is slightly different than ours. However, they are close enough to yield similar results.
As with the loop piece, print off a copy at 100%. This time, we’re going to move the center fold to the straight line at the top.
Again, you can also choose to print two copies and connect them at the fold instead for easier cutting.
Like the bow loops, you may want to prepare a second piece without the seam allowance for the interfacing pieces. Repeat the same process for the bow tails, this time cutting off ½” for the seam allowance.
Label your pieces as follows:
Bow loops: Cut 4 pieces of fabric (on the fold, if applicable). Cut 2 pieces of interfacing (on the fold, if applicable). Half an inch of seam allowance included.
Bow tails: cut 2 pieces of fabric (on the fold, if applicable). Cut 1 piece of interfacing (on the fold, if applicable). Half an inch of seam allowance included.
Be sure to label your front bow versus your back bow to prevent confusion.
We hope this helps! Again, huge thanks to SparklePipsi for allowing us to include this resource on our website to make life easier for all of you. If you want our patterns with these alterations, make sure to sign up for our Patreon!
There are several ways to make hip rolls based on your skill level and preference. Some of the most common methods include folded over quilt batting, polyfill, upholstery cording, and upholstery foam. The majority of our fukus incorporate upholstery foam, so that is the method we’ll be discussing in this tutorial.
Also, please note that this is the 2016 version of our process. For a cleaner hip roll and more comprehensive tutorial, please check out our Patreon!
1/2″ upholstery foam
White spandex (scraps from your leotard should work!)
How to Assemble Your Hip Rolls:
Select a piece of ½” wide white foam. Measure your high hip measurement to determine the length of your hip roll. Cut a single piece of foam that is 4-5” wide by the hip length. Wider hip rolls are more flattering on fuller figures, and smaller hip rolls look better on smaller figures. Proportions are key!
Cut a piece of spandex the same width and length.
Fold your foam in half (like a hot dog bun) and wrap your spandex around the foam. Get every sewing pin you own and pin that hot dog like your life depends on it.
Once your foam/spandex sandwich is thoroughly pinned, flip it over, and machine baste it, taking care to avoid puckers. The top side of your foam should be nice and smooth, so flipping your piece over gives you access to the fabric most likely to bunch.
Once your foam is basted, mark the taper of your hip roll using a water soluble pen or tailor’s chalk. We start our taper 3” from the point of the hip roll. If you have access to a serger, use your marked line and basting stitch as a guide and serger the edge of your hip roll. If you do not have access to a serger, line up the aforementioned line with the edge of your sewing foot and stitch. Go over the seam allowance with a zig zag stitch and trim the excess foam and spandex.
A question we often get is how to handle fuku-patterning for folks who fall outside of Green Pepper’s limited sizing on the Crystal Lake pattern. You have lots of options based on your patterning skills and expertise!
As we mention in our tutorial, you can grade the pattern using a number of methods, including slash-and-spread. Threads magazine has a great overview on this process!
I used the slash-and-spread technique linked above to modify our collar pattern (drafted by Vickie Bane) to fit my shoulders!
If you’re new to pattern alterations and not quite ready for pattern grading, you can use several other leotard patterns with larger size ranges. Here are just a few in-print options that are available as of this posting:
Kwik Sew 3502: This one is a favorite of mine! It goes up to 45”-37”-47” and is very beginner friendly. Plus, it’s readily available at most major craft stores! This pattern does have side seams so if you will need to blend those out if you want a single back seam.
Yaya Han’s M7455: We’ve not used this pattern yet, but it looks like a great starting point for fukus! This pattern goes up to sewing size 22 (44”-37”46”) and McCall’s patterns have the benefit of being readily available at major craft stores (not to mention regularly going on sale!). This pattern has the chest armor built in, but you could blend out the underbust seam and use the chest armor piece to follow our tutorials if you so desire.
Yaya’s Ultimate Bodysuit (M7217) pattern can also be starting point for base leotards, if you desire a tailored bodysuit and have experience with sewing spandex. This pattern is also available in plus sizes and for male-bodied folks! Keep in mind, this pattern will require initial tailoring, then you’ll need to blend out several seams to make this work for a fuku, so it’s not a very beginner friendly approach.
Jalie Patterns: This Canadian company specializes in activewear for gymnasts and athletes, and the vast majority of their patterns are available as downloadable PDFs. The Tessa long-sleeve dress and leotard (Pattern number 3891) is a great starting point. To make this one work with our tutorials, skip the lace inset and drop the sleeves. They also have several plus-size patterns!
The Nettie Dress/Bodysuit by Closet Case Patterns: This one would also need a bit of work to fit with our tutorials, but it’s a great independent company with tons of helpful resources, many of which are linked on our site! To make this pattern work, go with the bodysuit view with the higher neckline, ditch the sleeves, and create a seam where you want the skirt to go. Sizing goes up to 46”-39”-48”.
Simplicity 8435: This is another one we haven’t used yet, but it looks quite promising! As with other major pattern brands, this one has an added bonus of being easily available at most major craft stores and regularly going on sale. To make this pattern work with our tutorial, ditch the sleeves, lower the front part of the neckline, and make a seam where you want your skirt to go. Also, the pattern maker has lots of great blog posts on how to work with this pattern!
Mood Patterns: Mood is one of our favorite go-to fabric resources, but did you know that they also have several FREE sewing patterns? Many of those patterns are available in up to sewing size 30 (58.5”-49.5”-63”). We haven’t used many of their (FREE) patterns yet, but they have two bodysuits that could work with our tutorials with minor modifications: The bodysuit portion of the Iris ensemble and the Davallia bodysuit. For either pattern, you’d need to drop the sleeves and collar and cut a neckline into the suit. For the Davallia suit, you would also need to cut straight up the back rather than creating a back cutout as instructed. Neither pattern has a skirt built in, so you’d also need to add a seam for that.
Once you have your leotard pattern selected, you’ll need to draft your chest armor (SparklePipsi has great information on how to do this in her fuku tutorial) or slash and spread our chest armor pattern to accommodate your size.
Do you have a favorite basic leotard pattern that we haven’t mentioned? Tell us in the comments!
Hi everyone, today we’re sharing details on our Holiday Senshi build, which we debuted at our Winter Retreat in December 2018. We toyed with the idea of making this build for several years, but we always put it off due to holiday scheduling. Life gets pretty crazy for all of us once November hits!
That said, last year we planned a big weekend retreat with one of our favorite photographers: Ash Snap’Em. We had a couple of group builds we wanted to shoot and decided that a big weekend to knock them out was the easiest way to get everything together! We ultimately settled on having our retreat in Grapevine, which claims the title of Christmas Capital of Texas! We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take pictures with all the gorgeous Christmas decor, especially at the Gaylord, which finally gave us the incentive to dive into these builds.
Main References and Initial Planning
Anyone who’s done planning for group builds knows that even simple builds require time for coordination, especially if you want to look cohesive and uniform! I started sourcing materials and doing research on these builds in late 2016, which helped jumpstart this process.
We knew we needed to keep things simple, partly as a matter of time (we had about two weeks to make these), and partly to make sure we were adhering to the silhouettes of the Petite Chara figures — our main reference for these builds.
The figures also dictated our fabric choice. These designs use very bright colors, which we loved, but we also didn’t want to use velvet in borderline neon colors. Instead, we opted to use neoprene, which holds its shape super well without additional notions and is also warm enough to brave winter weather (plus, it was under $10/yd compared to pricing for nice velvet).
Several lucky finds added to this build, including the faux fur we located at Jo-Ann’s! Koholint stumbled across silver-tinsel faux fur on Jo-Ann’s website, which was PERFECT for the look we had in mind. Whenever I went to the store to start grabbing fabric for the group, I spotted gold as well as silver, and we ultimately went with gold to tie all of our materials in together.
I experimented with a couple of my favorite knit dress patterns for this build to see what would work best for us. Initially, I planned on using the bodice of the Lady Skater dress, but the neckline was too low to work with this outfit once the bows and capelet were added.
After a bit of experimentation, we settled on using the Davie dress from Sewaholic – another one of my tried-and-true knit patterns. For these outfits, we lopped the dress off at the high hip and went with the sleeveless view. We removed the seam allowance from the front and back pieces and cut them on the fold of the fabric to eliminate the center seam.
While you technically could get away with leaving the neck and arms undone since they’re not seen with these builds, we opted to finish them off with bias tape (as the pattern recommends) to help stabilize the neckline and keep it from stretching out over time. We also used clear elastic to stabilize the shoulder seams.
We drafted full circle skirts for these dresses for that super magical girl look. Skirts were sewn directly to the bodice and finished at the hem with the faux fur. We all used big petticoats for lots of fluff!
We used a “wrap-around” approach for the faux fur to make it look extra fluffy. This process requires a bit of math to ensure that you get the most out of your faux fur and how fluffy you want your fur to look. In the case of the skirt, we decided that we wanted 2.5” of faux fur visible. This meant that we needed strips around 6.5-7” wide:
(2.5” on the visible side + ½” seam allowance on the right side of the skirt + 2.5” on the wrong side of the skirt + ½”-1” extra on the wrong side to accomodate for turn of cloth and catch for the top stitching).
Once the faux fur was cut, we attached it to the skirt using the following method:
Stitch the fur with right sides together to the hem of the dress. This requires some precision, pinning, and marking. Since we wanted 2.5” of faux fur visible, we measured up 2”, then pinned the faux fur strips in place. You may also want to mark your stitch line on the reverse side of the faux fur to ensure accurate stitching. Clip the seam allowance as necessary to prevent fabric buckling.
Fold the wrong side down and wrapped it under the wrong side of the skirt.
Pin the remaining portion of the fur on the wrong side of the skirt.
Top-stitched the faux fur from the right side of the skirt. We essentially used a “stitch in the ditch” approach, holding the faux fur taut and stitching right where the fur turns. When the dress is worn, this stitch is nearly invisible.
There are lots of great capelet patterns available out there (many for free!), but we chose to go with McCall’s 3033 since that’s what I had on hand. We made sure that the final length of the capelet on each person hit around the bottom of the bust to make sure we were all proportionate. The only real modification we made to this base pattern was opening the capelet up a bit at the center front so that it formed roughly a 45 degree angle. This was necessary so that the chest bow would be visible.
The bottom of the capelet was finished in exactly the same way as the skirt, but it was just a touch smaller in terms of width.
For the collar pieces, we drafted them from a single layer of faux fur since the curve of the neckline was much more extreme than the hems of the skirt and capelet. To draft a collar for a neckline, check out this tutorial from Colette Patterns.
Once we drafted our collars, we stitched them directly to the neckline on the right side of the fabric.The inside of the neckline was then finished it off with bias tape facing for a clean finish. After the bias tape was in place, we carefully zig-zag stitched around the bottom of the collar, pushing the pile out of the way while sewing. Once finished, you can hide the stitches by brushing the pile out of the stitches and smoothing it down.
The capelet attaches to the base dress with snaps at the neckline.
The hat required a surprising amount of trial and error to get proportions right. Ultimately, we settled on cutting two triangles with dimensions of 6.5” at the base and 8.5” tall and stitching them together with a ¼” seam allowance. We made bands out of faux fur that were 2.5” wide so that 1” of the fur would be visible once it was attached to the hat.
To keep the hats in place, we cut circles from Peltex and stitched them to the base of the hat, adding clips to the wig. We also tacked the hats so that they’d hold their fold.
The Petit Chara holiday outfits don’t have gloves, which seemed a little out of place to us. The Sailor Moon Drops designs does, which are very similar, but they’re white, which again seemed a little odd to us, so we took some artistic liberties. We decided to purchase wrist gloves in our characters’ respective colors from We Love Colors and add some detail for the cuffs for a little added touch.
The cuffs were a very quick piece: we just cut bands the length of our wrists plus a small fold-over for snaps. We covered top in gold bias tape. Koholint and AdventTraitor found some adorable bells, bows, and gold star buttons at their local Jo-Ann’s, so we added these for extra cute details.
Accessories and Details
One of the reasons we knew we could tackle these builds in such a short amount of time was due to the other accessories we had on hand! We re-used basic jewelry and accessories from our respective senshi, along with the bows, shoes, and tiaras (made by PockyPants).
Again, we had a couple of lucky finds when it came to the details. Koholint and AdventTraitor found a few adorable packs of holiday themed earrings. We also met up to go shopping at our local craft stores pick up holiday-themed props for our shoot.
All of the poms on these outfits were made from scrap pieces of fur. We cut small circles of fur out, then hand basted and gathered them around puff balls. The finished poms were attached to the hats and bodices.
These builds were so much fun to make and wear! We wound up doing a shoot with these costumes at midnight at the Gaylord, and it was an absolute blast (though we might have been delirious at that point. Who knows lol). Since the Gaylord was basically empty, we had our run of all the gorgeous decorations and shoot locations, though we still got stopped several times for photos! Hopefully we’ll have a chance to wear these again in 2019!
Be sure to check out our Builds page for more photos from this set!
Today we’re going to take a quick look into the undergarments we created to wear beneath our yukata. This is really more of an informative article on what you will need and how to wear them rather than a creation tutorial, but there are links to the tutorials we used to make them as well. These undergarments help create a smooth, clean shape for your yukata!
An Extremely Useful Guide for All Things Yukata
Firstly, I highly recommend purchasing The Yukata Handbook by Yasuda Takako. There are a lot of nuances to wearing yukata properly as well as ways to pair colors and create different moods with fabric choices.This book has such a wealth of information in that regard as well as a number of different ways to tie your obi, notes on different accessories and footwear as well as ways to care for and properly store your yukata. Definitely worth the purchase! There are also notes on how to wear your yukata beautifully that include recommended ways to sit, walk and drink tea while wearing your yukata, but we will delve into that in a different article!
Base & Undergarments
A Hadajuban and Susoyoke
To start, when wearing a yukata, you want to create a nice, smooth almost cylindrical shape, reducing the curves of the body. There are kimono bras available from Rakuten Global Market (https://global.rakuten.com/en/search/?l-id=rgm-search-cmnhead-en-sp&tl=&k=kimono+bra) to help de-emphasize the bust. Some come with additional pads that help shape the collar. There is also a garment called the hadajuban which is essentially your yukata ‘slip’. Alternatively, (as we did) you can wear a sports bra under a v-neck tee and snug fitting leggings to keep things nice and smooth. For these, it’s whatever you feel most comfortable in.
Over that, you can choose to wear a one piece hadajuban or a two piece hadajuban and susoyoke. We went for the two piece option. Either is fine, but we found that the two piece option is easier to adjust through the day. These undergarments help keep sweat and body oils away from the main fabric of the yukata, making it simpler to clean.
When worn, the hadajuban and susoyoke are crossed left over right just as the yukata are. These pieces close with bias tape straps that are tied in a simple bow or knot, and the ends tucked under to reduce bulk and help keep that smooth look..
Padding and Shaping
Hip Pad with an Adjustable Band and Hook Closure
The item worn over the undergarments is a hip pad. This helps to fill in the curves of the body. There are a couple of different styles available; there are pads that have the ‘U dip’ shape and other that are more of a belt, some with different closures, and some that also come with additional pockets to add more padding into them. We purchased our hip pads from Rakuten Global Market. You can find them by doing a search for ‘kimono padding’. These fit around the waist and are secured with a hook or velcro closure in the front. If you find that you still have some gapping or the shape you’re after isn’t quite there, you can use hand towels or folded cotton lawn to adjust.
Note: The hip pad is more for those with a deeper waist/back curve or a more prominent bottom. If you have a less curvy waist you can skip this padding or use a hand towel or folded cotton lawn to achieve your shape.
And there you are! You’re now ready to put on your yukata! You may be thinking to yourself, ‘Is all of this really necessary? It’s just for a costume.’ Even though these were for costumes, we wanted to treat them as one would a normal yukata. These steps are integral to creating the correct shape for a traditional feel. Now it isn’t necessary to make the undergarments from scratch, but in making our own, we could ensure that everything fit properly since sizing can often be an issue.
Please look forward to the next yukata installment!
Madoka’s accessories include her many bows (2 in her hair, 2 at her hips, and one on the back of her choker), her choker, her glove toppers, and her stocking toppers. I worked on all of these except for the stocking toppers (made by The Geeky Seamstress), between tasks while working on Madoka’s bodice and my Kyoko Sakura cosplay.
Figure 1: Madoka Kaname, official reference
The fabrics used for Madoka’s accessories were the same those used for her bodice: the dark pink bridal satin was from Golden D’or, the white Casa satin was from JoAnn, along with some of the ribbon trims, and the lace was mystery-sourced from my personal fabric stash.
Madoka’s bows are made from modified versions of our Cosmic Coterie bow patterns. Her hair bows didn’t need much tweaking, since the tails don’t have the “v” cutout that her hair and hip bows do.
Figure 2: Madoka’s finished hairbows on her wig! Unfortunately I didn’t get other photos of them…
The “v” cutout required modifications to our existing bow-tail patterns. I did a couple rough drafts of them in muslin until I was happy with the shape, and then made a scaled-down version for the slightly smaller choker bow. Here’s some work-in-progress shots of those bows! They are assembled exactly the same way our regular bows are.
Figure 3: Madoka bow pieces (the black ones are for Kyoko’s hairbow)
Figure 4: Madoka bows in progress (the black is for Kyoko’s hairbow)
Figure 5: Madoka’s choker bow, finished!
Figure 6: One of Madoka’s hip bows!
The bows were finished by hand sewing on snaps (for the choker and hip bows) or alligator clips (for the hair bows). Due to how insanely poofy Madoka’s skirt was, the hip bows actually snapped onto the sides of the bodice instead of the skirt. It gives the illusion that they are on the skirt, while having a much more secure area to snap on to!
The choker was made exactly the same way as our Sailor Moon chokers. Madoka’s was made of red satin taffeta and had cute ribbon trim topstitched on. The choker closed with snaps, and the bow also was attached with a snap.
Figure 7: Madoka’s choker and choker bow, along with her bodice “buttons”.
The Glove Toppers
The glove toppers were made the same way as described in our glove topper tutorial. Madoka’s were a little more challenging because of the scallop shapes on her glove flares.
Figure 8: Madoka references that show off her scalloped glove toppers.
First, I took a basic flared topper pattern I’d made back in 2015 for my Mew Mint cosplay. I copied it and hand-drew the scallops until I got them proportional and fitted to the flare shape. This gave me a pattern shaped like this:
Figure 9: WIP stage of Madoka’s glove toppers.
The toppers were made of white Casa satin, interfaced with lightweight interfacing on one side. (The side not facing the camera). You can also see a big seam allowance at the wrist part (opposite the petal side). This was so that I could sew ribbon on that portion, to make the ribbon fit on the model’s wrist properly.
Figure 10: Madoka’s glove toppers – finished!!!
The toppers attach to themselves with velcro, and are made to sit on top of gloves that we purchased from We Love Colors. I’m giddy with happiness at how cute they turned out!
Figure 11: Madoka’s glove toppers again… they stand on their own, lol!
The Stocking Toppers – The Geeky Seamstress
Madoka’s stocking toppers were a combination of found items, reject materials, and a generous donation from We Love Colors!
I started with the ruffle base. When we originally started planning this group, we knew immediately that we wanted something to tie all of the girls together since they lack a uniform design. So we opted to have all of our ruffles match and finished them with coordinating colors for our respective characters. Two inch ruffles worked well as an accent piece for the vast majority of our characters. However, when I tried to use these for Madoka’s puff skirt, I realized they were far too small. So, after seam ripping them, I set them to the side. Thankfully, they didn’t go to waste! Koholint was able to use them for the ruffles on Madoka’s bodice and I was able to use leftovers for the stocking toppers.
Figure 12: The Geeky Seamstress working on Madoka’s stocking toppers
I started by creating a ruffle loop and stitching it onto a piece of ⅜” elastic. Once the ruffles were stitched in place, I used a faux pearl trim from Koholint’s stash. It was so cute, but required a bit of precision when stitching to avoid breaking needles. I wound up using a zig-zag stitch over this for the best results. The ribbon the faux pearls were attached to were too plain for our taste, so I also added some soft pink trim at the top for a little bit of extra flair.
These fit just over the top of the stockings, so even though they’re separate pieces, the stockings can be washed on their own or replaced without too much hassle if (or more likely when) they snag.
Madoka’s accessories are ridiculously cute. I don’t often make “cute” things, so these were very fun pieces to make, and I had a lot of fun adding ribbon and lace to make them even more adorable!