Series: Atelier Ayesha – The Alchemist of Dusk
First worn: San-Japan 8-bit 2015 – San Antonio, TX
Awards won: Best Craftsmanship (Master Division), San-Japan 8-bit 2015 Cosplay Contest, San Antonio, TX
This costume is by far my most difficult costume on a technical level. This is probably one of the very rare costumes where you need to own a really good (and expensive) sewing machine in order to make it with the sheer amount of detail that is in the reference picture.
The main technique that is used for most of detail work on the costume is cutwork embroidery. It is used to make the lace on the organza overdress, the embroidered hem on the main dress, all the applique pieces on the organza overdress, the individual scallops across the bodice and at the sleeves, the lace edging on the anklewraps, Ayesha’s cap, and the lace on the ends of Ayesha’s sash. Doing all these took about a million stitches total on the machine, according to the machine’s stitch counter.
The green dress is made from several parts. The bodice section is a heavily modified version of a Vogue Patterns wedding dress bodice, with substantial modifications around the sleeves. The green dress is made out of cotton sateen, and is custom dyed to the correct color. On the hem of the dress, there is a ombre gradient that I dyed to yellow, as shown in the original reference picture. The cap was also made from the same material, as well as part of the wristwraps and the anklewraps.
The inside slip was made from broadcloth, and its main purpose was to provide body and volume to the main dress and to provide a platform for the upper section of the costume. The straps are made by folding over lace strips and tacking it onto a solid fabric strip for the flowery look in the original reference picture. The bodice and the hem of the slip was lined with strips of store-bought lace that I had in stock.
The bodice of the overdress is made by stretching organza over a 3D printed cage. This was done to solve a unique problem that was presented as part of the original reference picture. The organza-covered cage was then lined with feathers from boas to complete the look, and then the cage was tacked on to strips of boning that come up from the overdress waistband.
The sash was made out of panne velvet, with cutwork lace on the ends of the sash. The sash required deviating from normal methods of making a sash, which I will cover in a tutorial.
Ayesha’s staff is made from a combination of a 5′ PVC pipe, with 3D printed components on the top, the bottom, and the grip. The flowers used in the staff and the cap were found at Michael’s.