This post will be a mixture of a review and tutorial, so slightly different than the usual posts. About a year ago I started sewing, having never touched a sewing machine other than in secondary school briefly for an art class. I’m not sure what pushed me over the edge to try it, but I think having seen so many people on Instagram who cosplayed and being unemployed, I decided just to go for it while I had the time. If you’ve seen my Mad Moxxi cosplay, that was the first thing I ever created. But now, I’ve created more and I’ve gone onto a character called “Super Sonico”; this is my main focus for this blog post.
I think she is just adorable and I truly hope to do her justice!
So the cosplay I decided to try and make was her pink nurse outfit, specifically the last photo above. Looking at the break down of her outfit; a nurse uniform with pink PVC detailing, a pink PVC belt with multiple buckles, a light pink wig, her iconic headphones, a nurse hat saying “Sonico Kenco”, black thigh highs with suspenders, and white high heels. There are other accessories such as a giant needle, clipboard and stethoscope but I’m not too concerned about those for the moment.
The biggest hassle I had was trying to find Pink PVC, I could find almost any other colour except this, even in my local fabric shops that seem to have everything it didn’t have any plain pink, sadly the same with many online shops. I did debate whether any pink material would do, but the more I looked at it, the more it had to be PVC. Thankfully, this is where Amazon came to play for me.
There was a listing for the exact material I needed, it was a miracle. I won’t lie, the cost of the material put me off slightly because of my current unemployment status but thankfully I had a gift card which covered the purchase wonderfully. So here is the listing for those interested:
This is the PVC fabric, sold by Prestige Fashion UK Ltd via Amazon. It’s 150cm wide and is sold per the metre, the colours available are Black, White, Pink and Red, and at this time of writing this and my purchase the cost per metre is £8.27 with free UK delivery.
I believe I ordered it around the 28-29th December 2016, predicted arrival of 9th-12th January, not a problem as this was more of a fun cosplay to make than a serious deadline. As of 3rd January 2017 I received my fabric, so the delivery was amazing. Below you can see the wonderful reveal of the fabric and how it arrived. A perfect 1 metre of Pink PVC.
As you can see the fabric came folded up which meant there were creases in it, but that was easily sorted by hanging it up for a day or two. This also helped clear out the awful smell. It smelled so much of fish. My dad was not impressed by the smell as it got into every room of the house, but opening all the windows helped. The smell faded from the fabric fairly quickly, but it also helps to take a wet cloth and hand wash it quickly (In fact I highly recommend doing this anyway).
I’ve never worked with this material before and I kind of expected just a sheet of thick plastic fabric. I was really happy to see that it’s attached to a white slightly stretchy lining type of material which helps give it a bit of extra strength (though it’s a pain for cutting out letters, we will get back to that in another post). It’s true to colour, though it depends on the monitors and such, but I’d say it came out the colour it was expected to. I’d say the most accurate for colour is the photo with the flash . I’d say for the price it’s definitely worth it, and I can see why it’s at such a price.
Due to my time at university, you end up picking up fancy dress items, for me this included an Ann Summers nurses uniform (Please don’t ask any more about that night, I doubt I’d remember it). Unfortunately I can’t seem to find the exact nurses uniform I had, but I believe it was in a size 20, and was around £20 too. For those interested in what Ann Summers has to offer in terms of Nurses outfits, here’s a link.
Sorry for those expecting a more revealing photo, this is what you get. So as you can see it’s quite a bit different than the cosplay I’m intending to do, and there’s quite a bit of work that needs to be done for it.
The major difference between this collar and the cosplay collar is that hers are straight edges, with a pink PVC detailed edging, whereas these are really curvy with red.
What I first did, and I’m sorry for the poor photo quality, was to use pins and pin wear it needed to be straight and how it would roughly look. So you can see on the left is the pinned version with straight edges.
It could have been a lot neater, I’m not that experienced but I make do. I simply took a pair of scissors and cut along the pins to get the shape I wanted. As you can see I went past the curved bit of the upper collar and straight for the neckline bit. This will be explained soon.
To give a clearer picture of the cut, and to show the next part. This is where I began to take the red edging off. The dress is actually made of two layers so I had to be careful not to unstitch the thread holding the layers together and just focus on the red edging. You can either take off all the red edging now, or do it as you go along like I did.
So here you can see that I’ve scrapped the red edging and made the cuts on both side. Probably not completely even.
What I did next was where I cut the excess material off to get the straight lines, I stitched the two layers together again using a straight stitch. The reason I did it in black was because it will be covered by the pink PVC and I can clearly see how far the PVC needs to cover. This was done on both sides again. It looks so pretty and professional….Not.
Taking a bit of the red material, I flatten it out to get a rough estimate of how wide the bias take/edging of the PVC will need to be. There is so much Pink PVC in my room right now.
So if you have experience with bias tape, it’s pretty straight forward. So much harder with Pink PVC though. So to get this result, I followed the basic was of doing bias tape, which I will now explain very poorly. If you put the right sides together, the pink PVC and the collar that will show, and use a straight stitch, the wrong side of the PVC will be facing you but attached. Then you fold the material over the collar so the Pink is covering the collar, then do a small fold if you want to (I think I didn’t because the material kept slipping) to cover both edges and do a stitch to hold the material in place and you’re done!
I did that on all of the collar and it’s what I’ll be doing when I do all the other detailing and edging too. As a side note, I also used a light pink thread. When it came to stitching the part I had cut to put the PVC to the neck (If that makes sense), I attached the PVC, then the upper collar I placed underneath the lower collar and sewed along the stitch that I had made when attaching the PVC. This was the collar became attached all the way round.
As a tip, I found that sticking some masking tape to the foot helps the material slide a bit better when sewing PVC.
As I said previously, I’m not great at sewing, I make mistakes and it will never be perfect but I thought I’d show how I created this cosplay regardless.
The collar is done, I shall now work on the hem.
If you look at the first photo of this outfit, you’ll see that it reaches a few inches above my knee, now considering I’m 5ft 8, this feels like it should be a lot shorter for an Ann Summers item. So I just took a pair of scissors and cut about 3-5 inches off all the way round. It still left about 2 inches or so to ensure modest but it gave more of the right length for the cosplay.
This is actually pretty simple so I didn’t take photos of the process, just the end result.
So here you can see I used the previous edging technique I mentioned prior and did it around the bottom of the dress. Then I cut another long piece of PVC (Still have so much of it) to do the second piece. As there was no edge to cover, I simple folded into three, with the top layer covering both edges and did a straight stitch round. I will say a few things about this though that I made the mistake of doing.
One, the dress is a stretchy fabric so annoyingly as I did the second PVC strip, I accidentally stretched the dress pulling it out of shape, but I managed to fix it slightly with a bit of an iron (Not really recommended as if it’s too hot it can melt the PVC, but somehow I got the right temperature/paranoia probably helped).
Secondly, the dress has two zips, so it can be done at the top and bottom. As to shorten the dress I ended up cutting the zip, including the thing to stop the zip from coming out… You can see where this went. About an hour later I managed to get the zip back on and hand stitched some thread on there, and put some super glue there just because.
So there you have it, the bottom and top of the dress is complete. For the next blog post related to this, I will show you how I covered up the zip, and what I’ve done to the sleeves. Maybe more depending on when I next get in the sewing mood.
Hope you’ve enjoyed reading this.