Written by The Geeky Seamstress

Introduction

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.

Base Dress

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Fold the wrong side down and wrapped it under the wrong side of the skirt.
  3. Pin the remaining portion of the fur on the wrong side of the skirt.
  4. 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.

Capelet

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.

Hats

The hat required a surprising amount of trial and error to get the 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.

Gloves

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.

Conclusion

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!

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Hey everyone, The Geeky Seamstress here. A question we frequently get in regards to senshi fukus is where we get our materials. We’re fortunate to live close to a great fabric district in Dallas that meets most of our needs, but not everyone has that kind of resource!

Today, we’re going to talk about where you can get materials for your fukus both online (or in-person if you happen to make it to Texas)!

Spandex Fabrics

When choosing a base fabric for your leotard, look for thick, opaque spandex fabrics that aren’t too shiny. Nylon fabrics are our top pick since synthetic materials are designed to wick moisture away from your body.

Here are a few great options:

  • SpandexWorld (online): white moleskin. This is an expensive option, but it’s what I use for many of my commissions!
  • Yaya Han’s fabric line at Jo-Ann (in-person and online): jumbo spandex. Again, this is a fairly expensive option priced at $34/yd in our area without a coupon. That said, if you have access to a Jo-Ann’s, you can probably find this fabric. Make sure to use a coupon using the Jo-Ann app or website!
  • CosplayFabrics International (online): We haven’t personally ordered from them, but they sell Yaya’s fabric line and we know many cosplayers outside the USA use this resource often! 
    • USA customers can access the same site here.
  • Golden D’Or (in-person): dritex. This is a great Dallas-based shop off of Harry Hines in the fabric district. This material is normally $13/yd and in the Spandex Room. We’ve had a few times where the material has factory defects right in the center of the fabric, so make sure to check your yardage before the employees cut it! They also have quarterly store-wide sales with 20% off your entire purchase coupons, so make sure to sign up for their mailing list!
    • 2021 update: Sadly, Golden D’or is now permanently closed.
  • We Love Colors: You might recognize this company based on our glove recommendations! They also offer a dull tricot in 1.5 yd cuts. We’re using this for our 2018 outer senshi build. If you’re on the smaller side, you can get away with a 1.5 yd cut with some clever pattern placement. Otherwise, you’ll likely need to order 2 cuts.
  • Fabric Wholesale Direct (online): matte milliskin tricot. This company sells tons of fabrics at some very great prices, and their swatches and products generally arrive quickly. Their customer service has been great any time we’ve needed help, too!
    • 2021 update: We have had several issues with Fabric Wholesale Direct recently, most notably that their customer service has degraded in quality, so they are now a last resort only. Please use caution if you order from them! We will update here if their services improve.

Satins

 

Bridal satins are a wonderful material for flowy fuku skirts and beautiful bows! A heavy bridal satin will wash well, iron beautifully, and look great in photos.

When shopping for satin online, look for matte bridal satin. Peau de soie is also a great option, as well as Duchess or L’Amour satin. If you have enough time, make sure to order swatches! They’re normally $2 or less and help ensure that you’re ordering the best material possible for your project.

Finally, a word of caution: please stay away from anything advertised as “shiny” or “costume” satin – this type of fabric is of terrible quality and is not recommended by us for fukus. 

  • Casa Collection at Jo-Ann(online and in-person): Matte Satin. This used to be the standard for sailor fukus, but unfortunately, many of the senshi colors are now discontinued. You can still occasionally find some fabrics that will work, like blues for Moon and Uranus and some good yellows. If you use this line, make sure to grab the regular matte satin – it looks great with fukus!
    • 2021 update: Jo-Ann now offers a fabric called “satin twill”. This fabric is gorgeous, but it is expensive and a little on the heavy side. It may be worth a look if you’re having trouble finding the right color, though!
    • 2021 update 2: Jo-Ann has also appears to have extended their shipping to Canada!
  • OnlineFabricStore (online): Peau de Soie. OFS has a HUGE range of matte satins available for fukus, even some in the stranger/harder to find colors like orange and teal. Plus, their peau de soie is normally about $5.50/yd. The only drawback to OFS is they can be hit or miss in terms of shipping, so make sure you order well in advance of your deadline!
    • 2021 update: OFS has still not improved their shipping, so we no longer order from them or recommend them.
  • Mood Fabrics (online and in-person): Polyester Satin. The selection here isn’t quite as large as OFS, but they have lots of beautiful materials! Mood’s polyester satins normally run about $8/yd and shipping is a bit on the higher end. I adore their Kelly Green for Jupiter. Keep in mind that they are also constantly adding colors, so keep checking back!
  • Fabric.com (online): They have TONS of great satin options here. The Duchess satin is very nice, but the color selection is somewhat limited. The Telio satins are WONDERFUL – I’m using navy Telio satin for my Sailor Uranus fuku, and it’s a dream.
  • Fabrictopia (in-person): Polyester Satin. This shop is on Perth Street in Dallas about a quarter of a mile away from Golden D’Or. If Golden D’or doesn’t have a good satin for a senshi, I check them out. They have a wide assortment of polyester satin for under $6/yd by the cutting table in the main room! Plus, they’re super generous with cuts.
  • eBay (online): Some of the fuku colors are really difficult to find in-person, so we’ve had to turn to eBay in the past to locate fabric. When searching, make sure to check return and sample policies. Look for: matte bridal satin, peau de soie, duchess satin, or l’amour satins. Some shops will send you samples or swatches if you ask! Quality can be hit or miss, so also make sure to check reviews of sellers.
  • Fabric Empire Store (online): We’ve ordered a few swatches from them, and they have TONS of colors in L’amour satin! They also have foam by the yard.
  • Michael’s(online): When Hancock Fabrics went out of business a few years ago, Michael’s acquired their fabric. We were so excited to discover that one of the fabrics they carry is peau de soie! Just do a search for peau de soie in Michael’s online shop to find a huge variety of colors.
    • 2021 update: Michael’s appears to have been scaling back on their fabric offerings, and sadly, the peau de soie is no longer available. They now only offer “costume satin”, which is not fuku quality. We are also no longer sure if the glitter satin is peau de soie or costume satin, so only order that with caution.
  • Fabric Wholesale Direct (online): We mentioned them earlier, but we’re mentioning them again because they seriously have a HUGE variety of fabrics, including competitively-priced peau de soie!
    • 2021 update: As mentioned in the spandex section, Fabric Wholesale Direct has fallen to the bottom of our recommendation list due to their degraded customer service.

Foam

We get LOTS of questions on where we get our foam. We used to get ours at Golden D’or, but since they closed in 2020, we mostly use the resources on this list.

Our advice for finding foam is to look for 1/2″ upholstery foam in WHITE. Green and yellow foam will show through the white of the fuku unless you use several layers of spandex. Additionally, sometimes the foam can oxidize and turn yellow. If that happens, add another layer of spandex over your foam pieces to prevent it from showing through.

Here are a few places you can order similar material (please note that we have not tested all of these sources):

  • Jo-Ann (online and in-person): Foamology Project Foam or Airtex. This is a great resource in a pinch. For my latest fuku commission, I was just barely shy of enough material to make the chest armor sleeves, so I tried this out. It works pretty well! It’s not quite as dense as the stuff I normally use from Golden D’Or, but it’s a pretty good substitute.
    • Since Golden D’Or is now closed, Jo-Ann is essentially the only brick and mortar option left in our area.
  • DIY Upholstery Supply (online): 1/2″ Foam
  • Michael’s (online): White Dacron Upholstery Foam
  • Fabric Empire Store (online): Foam padding by the yard

Other Notions

The vast majority of the other notions we use for fukus can be found at major craft stores like Jo-Ann’s, Hobby Lobby, or if your local Wal-Mart has a sewing section. That said, some of them can be a little tricky to find. So here are a few links for harder to find materials:

We hope this helps! Do you have a go-to resource for your fukus? Please share it with us in the comments below!

Photoshoots

Casting:

Tutorial on our fuku process available here.

Work in Progress Photos

Credits:

 

Photographer Credits:

Ash Snap’Em

Casting:

Helpful Tutorials:

Work in Progress Photos: 

Additional photos on Instagram.

 

Photographer Credits:

Casting:

Constructions notes are available here.

Work in Progress:

Credits:

  • Fukus by the Cosmic Coterie team
  • Tiaras and gradient airbrushing on Super Sailor Chibi Moon by MASK Props
  • Saturn’s Silence Glaive and Uranus’ Space Sword by Mechaboy07
  • Venus’ Sword by Vorpal Props
  • Venus Chain by Space Cadet
  • Gradient airbrushing on Super Sailor Moon by Joshua Brown
  • Neptune choker ornament, Mistress 9 accessories, and Saturn choker ornament, brooch, and earrings by UniqueCosplayProps
  • Neptune wig by Ms. Rae Cosplay using two Arda Wigs Ferrari wigs in Ocean Green and Mako Green
  • Moon wig styled Jessica Mills
  • Mercury wig (Wendykkuma) materials: eBay
  • Mercury wig (Victoria Bane) materials: Arda Wigs – Jaguar in Electric Blue
  • Mars wig materials: by Arda Wigs – Venus Classic wig in Dark Purple
  • Jupiter wig (Reid) by Lucaille
  • Jupiter wig (The Geeky Seamstress) by Epic Cosplay Wigs and Arda Wigs – Epic’s Phoebe in Copper Red + Arda’s curly clip in ponytail in Dark Copper Red
  • Venus wig materials: Arda Wigs – Venus Silky in Honey
  • Saturn wig materials: Arda Wigs – Natasha in Dark Purple
  • Uranus wig materials: Lucaille
  • Pluto wig materials: Arda Wigs – Venus Classic in Olive + bun accessory in Olive
  • Chibi Moon wig by Cospicky
  • Brooches for The Geeky Seamstress and Koholint by Callula Cosplay
  • Super Sailor Moon brooch: Official Proplica
  • Super Sailor Moon hip roll brooch: Official Gashapon
  • Shoes and boots painted using Angelus Leather Paints
  • Base gloves by We Love Colors

Photoshoots

Photographers: Ash Snap ‘Em Photography and Mehreen Rizvi Photography

 

Casting:

Tutorial on our fuku process available here.

Work in Progress

Credits:

  • Tiaras and gradient airbrushing on Super Sailor Chibi Moon by MASK Props
  • Saturn’s Silence Glaive and Uranus’ Space Sword by Mechaboy07
  • Venus’ Sword by Vorpal Props
  • Gradient airbrushing on Super Sailor Moon by Joshua Brown
  • Neptune choker ornament, Mistress 9 accessories, and Saturn choker ornament, brooch, and earrings by UniqueCosplayProps
  • Neptune wig by Ms. Rae Cosplay using two Arda Wigs Ferrari wigs in Ocean Green and Mako Green
  • Moon wig styled by Jessica Mills
  • Mercury wig (Wendykkuma) from eBay
  • Mercury wig (Victoria Bane) by Arda Wigs – Jaguar in Electric Blue, self-styled
  • Mars wig by Arda Wigs – Venus Classic wig in Dark Purple
  • Jupiter wig (Reid) by Lucaille
  • Jupiter wig (The Geeky Seamstress) by Epic Cosplay Wigs and Arda Wigs – Epic’s Phoebe in Copper Red + Arda’s curly clip in ponytail in Dark Copper Red
  • Venus wig base; Arda Wigs – Venus Silky in Honey
  • Saturn wig base: Arda Wigs – Natasha in Dark Purple
  • Uranus wig base: Lucaille
  • Pluto wig base: Arda Wigs – Venus Classic in Olive + bun accessory in Olive
  • Chibi Moon wig base: Cospicky
  • Brooches for The Geeky Seamstress and Koholint by Callula Cosplay
  • Super Sailor Moon brooch: Official Proplica
  • Super Sailor Moon hiproll brooch: Official gashapon
  • Shoes and boots painted using Angelus Leather Paints
  • Base gloves by We Love Colors