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Birth by Sleep: Aqua by Malindachan Birth by Sleep: Aqua by Malindachan
Took advantage of the beautiful weather today and got some photos of Aqua! (Finally!) Got some photos from Naka-kon of our whole group still on the way too :3

I didn't know what to expect of Aqua before Birth by Sleep came out. She ended up being my fav character from the game, and probably one of my favorite female characters of all time.

I was working on this costume starting last fall, and I got it done literally the night before I premiered it at Naka-kon in February. Keyblade still isn't done yet, but hopefully I'll have it done on time for A-kon this summer.

Our Skit from Naka-kon: [link]

So here comes the wall of text about the costume construction:

Wig: I had a super hard time finding a blue wig in the color I wanted, which was a blue-grey. I found some on ebay, but I didn't trust they'd have enough volume for the kind of spiking I wanted to do. In the end, I got a really long wig, cut off what I didn't need, and made wefts out of the hair I cut off (much like how this tutorial makes wefts: [link] ). I used a meshy ribbon in the same color as the wig to sew the hair to, and then I sewed those wefts into the back of my wig. I styled the spikes with a light amount of Got2Be hair spray with a tiny bit of fabric glue in the tips of the spikes to help hold them together. To help keep the hair in the back down, I have bobby pins that I painted to match the color of the wig.

Sleeves: Aqua's sleeves are kinda weird because they angle up so the highest part is where the armor is attached. I had to do something that would sturdy the material so the armor wouldn't tug it down. I ended up just making some arm bands out of craft foam sheets, and I sewed them into the tops of the sleeves like how you would do with interfacing. They're snug enough on my arms that they stay up really well, even if my arms are moving around a lot :3 They are made out of a white matte satin and lined with a second layer of the same satin on the inside.

Gloves: Fingerless gloves are a lot harder to make than normal gloves because you have to finish the edges where you cut the fabric. I sewed these gloves completely by hand since they were difficult to do by machine (both because of how delicate some of the areas were, and because the fabric was mean and stretchy). I was also using a slip-stitch to sew all the bias tape to it (single-fold bias tape), and there was no way I'd be able to do that kind of detail by machine. These gloves are pretty difficult to get on and off though, since the bias tape does not stretch like the fabric does.

Top: I started with a turtle-neck pattern, but ended up having to scrap it and just do some draping on myself (I used a navy blue ponte knit). I sewed in some darts, made a new collar, etc. I got some of those swimsuit/bra pads to sew on the inside, and the weird black boob things on the outside hide the stitching and darts (I made them out of the same black vinyl I used for my corset). I laid out the top and drew out the shapes I needed the vinyl edges to be. It's hard to describe the entire process without showing my visuals.

Corset: I ended up making this twice because the first time I tried drafting it from scratch and failed. I later found this pattern [link] and made some modifications. Instead of interfacing I just had some thicker fabrics (vinyl on the outside, and twill for the inside), but I did have to use plastic boning to keep its shape (it was my first time working with boning)! I modified the pattern itself so that it had just one piece in the front-middle, and the back has a split where I tie it up. I use some strips of the twill down each side under where the lacing should be (to match the references I had since it's a little darker), put in white eyelets, and used a ribbon for lacing (scotch tape wraps around the ends). I originally was just going to leave it as it was, but I liked how the references had strips running up each side of the lacing, so I ended up doing that out of vinyl (which covered up the eyelets). I have black eyelets with a black ribbon in the back of the corset so it's not as noticeable.

Sash-wraps: I made these twice also, because the first attempt was with a fabric that was way too thick for the effect I wanted (it bunched up really funny where it ties at the sides). I ended up using a jet-set knit for my second attempt, and it worked perfectly. I cut out 4 really long strips (I think they were about 3 yards each?), folded them over, sewed them together, turned them right-side-out, and did a top-stitch along the seams. Some of the ends were finished at an angle, and the ones that end in the back have a ruffled piece attached. Two of the sashes are sewn at an angle inside the front of the corset. Those two loop to the back and tie at a knot (they're the ones with the ruffly ends). In the back of the corset I have sewn in two elastic loops, one on each side of the back opening. the sashes go through the loop on its respective side before tying together in the middle. Another sash drapes across my front, and the last one drapes across the back, and they tie onto the loops on the sides created from the first set of sashes (these are the ones that form the bow on each side). Again, something that is a bit hard to explain without showing visuals ^^;

Shorts and socks: I started with some black ponte knit fabric and a leggings pattern (I think it was Simplicity?), bringing in the seams until they were conformed to my legs. I drew where I wanted the shorts to end (giving myself enough allowance for a hem) and cut off the leg pieces. I then used those tubes from the legs as my "socks." An issue I had though was that the socks kept wanting to fall down when I bent my legs, so I put elastic on the insides and outsides of my thighs to hold them up to the shorts like a garter. They have straps that go under my feet as well to keep them from sliding up.

Skirt: Didn't use any pattern for this. I first draped some fabric on myself for the top portion. There is a seam in the back and an opening with a zipper in the front, but they are well-hidden by the sashes. I took 4 rectangles (2 for each side) and sewed them on the longer sides, turned them right-side-out, and top-stitched over the seams. At the tops I pleated the fabric and tucked it in-between the layers of the skirt's top-section before doing a top-stitch to attach them. I did the same sort of thing for the bottom ruffly section, but I did a gather instead of pleats. Was a very annoying process, but well-worth it. Since Aqua's skirt seems to have variations of colors where it folds, I chose to use a cornflower blue crepe-back satin. It gets the same effect as hers when the lighting is right, and it's very flow-y and soft. It reminded me of water when I first saw it, which is Aqua's namesake :3

Chest-straps: I ended up having to make these 3 times >___<. Between vinyl and normal fabrics, I loved the vinyl a lot more. Problem though was that vinyl in the right color was very hard to find. I was lucky to find pink at a local store, but it's not the exact same as the main reference I was going by. It does match the pink from some of her high quality CG renders though, so I personally think it works out fine. The straps cross across my back and snap together in the front. There is a velcro square at the very center that the emblem attaches to.

Emblem: Made out of craft foam using several pieces to get the right geometry. Sealed the foam with layers of watered down glue and then painted over it with metallic paint. It's velcroed to the pink straps.

Arm Armor: Another Aqua cosplayer made a wonderful pattern [link] , and I made a few modifications. Essentially I used the craft foam armor technique [link] but I painted with metallic paints instead of rub-n-buff (I've used that stuff before, but it's a bit messier and sometimes likes to rub/scratch off). I heated craft foam over the stove for the curves and glued fabric to the back to help keep their shapes. They were sealed with the water-glue-fabricglue-mixture before I painted them. The modifications I made to the aqua armor pattern were adding three darts into the top round piece, made the opening a bit bigger and added in a flat circle of foam, and cut another opening in that circle for a piece glued underneath. I also added some strips along the bottom edges of the funky-shaped pieces for extra geometry (I'll upload some better pictures of the armor itself later so you can see it). All the armor pieces are attached with pieces of elastic, and the top blue armor piece on each side is attached to my sleeves with velcro.

Boot armor: found a black pair of boots at Goodwill, and created a pattern out of paper before constructing them out of craft foam. Sealed them and painted them the same way as the arm armor. The bottom parts are hot-glued to the shoes themselves, and the top parts have an opening in the back where they velcro together after I put the shoes on.

Wayfinder: I originally was going to make them out of clear resin so they would have the stained-glass look, but I was running out of time before the con. I ended up making some quick ones for our group out of layers of craft foam (sounds cheap, I know, but they came out really awesome). Sealed them like I did for my armor pieces and then painted them. Used a brown ribbon for the string.


Whew, that was long! I'm really proud of this costume, and it's taken me a lot longer than most others that I've made. Since I first wore this costume the armor on my boots have taken a little bit of a beating, but nothing too bad. I feel this costume isn't completely done though until I finish my keyblade :3

Photo by :iconkmrsworld734:
Costume made and modeled by :iconmalindachan:

Kingdom Hearts is (c) Square Enix and Disney
Add a Comment:
 
:iconnepherka:
Nepherka Featured By Owner Edited Oct 1, 2014
Do u have step by step pics of the Aqua outfit when u did them.
i am a beginner at this 
Reply
:iconallycat624:
Allycat624 Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2014
Your Aqua looks awesome!  Thanks for all the information on how you made your costume.  I want to do this costume and it really helps :)
Reply
:iconminiminiyame:
MiniMiniYame Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2014
You make an amazing Aqua omg. The amount of detail you put into the costume is absolutely astounding. *u* I'm currently making an Aqua cosplay myself, and I really appreciate you putting the costume construction! It helps a lot. c:
Reply
:iconanimegirl0927:
animegirl0927 Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2013
You're an awesome aqua!
Reply
:iconrainbow-mix-brony2:
rainbow-mix-brony2 Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
you look exaxtly like aqua dude!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Reply
:iconwitheringheart:
WitheringHeart Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2013
Howdy! I am working on my Ventus Armor for SAn Japan and wanted to ask if you knew if it'd be better to spray paint some of his stuff or hand paint all of it with acrylics
Reply
:iconal-chaos:
Al-Chaos Featured By Owner May 10, 2013  Student Artist
this is awesome
Reply
:iconpndr:
PNDR Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2013
Nice
Reply
:iconaqwara:
Aqwara Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
WOW!!!
Reply
:icondensoro:
Densoro Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2012
My god, this is amazing <3 Aqua ended up being my favorite character of the series too, so all the detail you've put into cosplaying her is awesome. Even the armor looks just like it did in the game, and armor's the place where almost every cosplay I've seen fails. Props on the hair too; ever since I saw your Neku cosplay, I wondered how you did Squeenix hair so perfectly xD
Reply
:iconthecoolcosplayer22:
TheCoolCosplayer22 Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Best Aqua I've ever seen!! AWESOME!!
Reply
:iconfujiwaratan:
FujiwaraTan Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
Can you do a tutorial or at least post the patterning?
If not, that's okay, by the way you make a beautiful Aqua cosplayer.
Reply
:iconmomonifeliyador:
MomoniFeliyador Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Amazing! :la:
Reply
:iconchaoticlatina:
chaoticlatina Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2012  Student General Artist
Do you still have the pattern for the shoes? :ninja:
Reply
:iconmrtinklefairy:
mrTINKLEfairy Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2012  Student General Artist
This is absolutely the BEST Aqua cosplay. The sheer amount of detail in your outfit is astounding! This is completely mindblowingly amazing! Please keep up the beautiful work, the world needs more cosplay like this.
Reply
:iconindienate:
IndieNate Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
First person I can say who did this cosplay some justice. Looks just like the character. Excellent job!
Reply
:iconyukolin93:
yukolin93 Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2012  Hobbyist Interface Designer
this.looks.awesome!!! i have major trouble with the metal part on her shoes since im not using boots.. any advice?
Reply
:iconmalindachan:
Malindachan Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
whatever you use for the base, take some paper and wrap it across, draw, trim, etc until you have a pattern to work with. I used craft foam for the final version of mine, but you could use different things.
Reply
:iconfactoryheadnoland:
FactoryHeadNoland Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2012
This is really awesome like holy crap o.o nice cosplay !
Reply
:iconxdarkangel90x:
xDarkAngel90x Featured By Owner May 23, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
very beautiful cosplay ^_^ , i'm working on mine right now, and that corset and top is being mean to me lol
Reply
:iconadvancedmanga:
AdvancedManga Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Amazing as always XD The boots really took my breath away though at how they looked so......AWESOME!!! I love looking at your cosplays and I have to say, this one really stands out!
Reply
:iconitsfightintime300:
itsfightintime300 Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2011
Congratulations on your wedding, and I love all your cosplays! <3
Reply
:iconelvenprincess13:
ElvenPrincess13 Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2011
This looks really great! And the detail in the description is fantastic :) I'm currently in the process of making my own Aqua cosplay and it's so useful to see how you made yours :)
Reply
:icono0joke0o:
o0Joke0o Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2011
you should make vids of your sewing, it would be a big hit!!
Reply
:icontinymar:
TinyMar Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Woww!! I love it! >_<
Reply
:iconrainbowsox42:
rainbowsox42 Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
thanks so much for the tips i'm making an aqua costume for halloween and a con around the same time :D ur cosplay is beautiful!
Reply
:icononlyriku:
OnlyRiku Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2011
Wow...Your cosplay is beautiful! *w*
Reply
:iconmanadarkmagiciangirl:
>w< Oh Malinda X3 SUCH GRACE <3
Reply
:iconanimegurl1990:
Animegurl1990 Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2011
You are easily the best Aqua cosplayer I've ever seen.

This is going to help so much with my costume. Thanks so much for all the info. ^^
Reply
:iconmalindachan:
Malindachan Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks! And you're welcome :3
Reply
:iconshuu-bunni:
shuu-bunni Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Easily the best Aqua cosplayer I've seen ^_^
Reply
:iconlindseyghost:
LindseyGhost Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
I love it!
Reply
:iconxsabishi:
xSabishi Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
wow im really impressed by your boots! Im currently trying to make mine and feeling a little intimidated haha
Reply
:iconmalindachan:
Malindachan Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
I was a bit intimidated too, but once I figured out a pattern it was cake! :D
Reply
:iconanimallover4ever:
AnimalLover4Ever Featured By Owner May 31, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Did you make this cosplay yourself? This is one of the best I've ever seen of Aqua.
Reply
:iconmalindachan:
Malindachan Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Yes I did! :3 and thankies!
Reply
:iconanimallover4ever:
AnimalLover4Ever Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:faint: It's so good!!!
Reply
:iconlesemon:
Lesemon Featured By Owner May 18, 2011
Wow, great cosplay! You make an excellent Aqua! :heart:
Reply
:iconlaux-79:
Laux-79 Featured By Owner May 18, 2011  Professional Interface Designer
Hello, I am not quite clear on how you managed to make the front part of the sashes, exactly the parts hanging from the corset and that create the bows how they join with the part that joins the two bows?
Sorry for my bad english, I hope i was clear, I would like if You could do a WIP of this part, thanks.
Reply
:iconmalindachan:
Malindachan Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
The pieces hanging from the corset are sewn to the corset and then just go to the back where it is tied in a knot. Then I took the other two sashes (one going across the front and the other across the back) and tied them at the sides (they are tied around the loops made by the first pair of sashes that are attached to the corset)
Reply
:iconlaux-79:
Laux-79 Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2011  Professional Interface Designer
thanks a lot ^-^
Reply
:iconlejdcool:
lejdcool Featured By Owner May 14, 2011
damn looks great
Reply
:iconisiphriara:
Isiphriara Featured By Owner May 10, 2011
Awesome :)
Reply
:iconalkalye:
Alkalye Featured By Owner May 9, 2011
I feel kind of silly saying this... but you cosplay guys so much that it's odd seeing you so dainty and pretty, but you really do look very beautiful as Aqua. D'>

The boot armor in particular is spectacular, and the attention you pay to detail always shows through. Amazing job!
Reply
:iconmalindachan:
Malindachan Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Thankies! ^.^
Reply
:iconsophiepants:
SophiePants Featured By Owner May 5, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
wow! this is really fantastic! amazing work :) you ARE aqua !
Reply
:iconredteeth:
redteeth Featured By Owner May 3, 2011
This looks terrific! I can tell you spent a lot of time on it. :) And if I may ask a question about the foot armor, did you construct it around a normal boot you bought? Thanks!
Reply
:iconmalindachan:
Malindachan Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Yeah, I made a pattern out of paper that I wrapped around the boot and trimmed down until it was the right size before I made it out of foam :3
Reply
:iconredteeth:
redteeth Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2011
Neat! Thanks. :)
Reply
:iconraiyna:
Raiyna Featured By Owner May 2, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I still can't get over the fact that you hand-crafted this yourself. *A* It really is beautiful! ♥
Reply
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