Cowslip Blastoise Build: Jacket/Oars/Wraps/Shell
Here's the second to last post to explain my build for the ever gorgeous Blastoise design by General Cowslip. Today, we'll be talking about the Jacket (bolero), the oars, hands and leg wraps, and the shell. As always, if you have any questions, please comment or message! I love going into more detail if need-be.
Starting off, we'll talk about the bolero. Because there isn't a lot of patterns for these, I had to make my own. I started off drawing a design on my sketch book of how I would want it to look, while also being as accurate as possible. I cut it out, leaving a bit of extra to make sure I could add the bias tape later. I took the dye from the pants and splatter dyed the fabric, keeping a trash bag under the bolero to avoid dyeing the floor. I let that bad boy dry, and sewed the bias tape all around. I knew that the oars would later have to be attached, so I took my dowel rods and pinned where I thought the elastic should be sewn. I also tried to make the elastic go around my arms comfortably. I used invisible elastic to not be too unsightly for either the oars or the sleeves.
Next up, I worked on the Oars. These were probably the easiest part while also still being a pain in the butt? I've not made a lot of Foam items, so I panic a lot (Advice: Don't do this) before trying to work with it. I took four 6mm foam sheets I bought from my local JoAnn's and cut them as long as I could (The sheets were 9"x12") and used E6000 to glue the two pieces of foam and the dowel rod. The first gluing, I put books on the oar. Unfortunately, that didn't work how I wanted. There were plenty of holes and so I had to start over. The second time, I took duct tape and taped all along the edges. I let it dry overnight, then pulled the duct tape off. This came out right this time. I then took some 120 grit sandpaper and rounded the edges of the dowel rod to keep it from scraping or splintering as easily.
After I finished the sanding, I dremeled the edges of the foam to make sure the the foam was even together, then rounded those edges to make it more cutesy rather than tough. This was my personal touch, as there is only the one view of Blastoise. I then sealed the pores of the foam with the heat gun, and attacked it with the paint brush. I used a silver acrylic paint mixed with a little white to make it not as shiny. Two coats covered beautifully, then I sealed it with matte Mod Podge. It was too cold to seal it with spray paint, or else I would have clear coated it with that. When it was dry, I put the bad boys in the harnesses and she's finished.
The wraps had to be the most tedious part of this build. I took a 4-way stretch knit and made what felt like a million tubes of fabric (It was more like, 10, but it felt like a lot) I sized each one to each section of my legs, then lined up the hems and sewed them together. I flipped the tubes, sewing down the middle to create the middle line. To make sure that they stayed mostly together, I sewed a little seam on top of the center, where the wrap line is.
I became really impatient (Which is never wise. If you need to, take a break, breathe, and then come back to it) and made a really long tube for the arm wraps, then wrapped them around my arms and tucking the excess underneath the rest of the wrap. Once the wraps were completed, I took a slightly darker shade of blue paint to add to the middle seams to give it that ombre that is shown in the references.
FOR FUTURE REFERENCE: I will probably be remaking these, and in doing so, I'll make arm and leg socks to attach the blue tubes around to keep them from slipping. Unfortunately, I had to deal with a lot of slipping when it came to the leg and arm wraps. I'll post its own tutorial when I get to it.
Finally, we get to talk about the comfiest part of this cosplay: The Shell. I had to take some artistic liberties with this as there were no reference photos for the back. This gave me a chance to create something resembling a shell while making it my own. I made a giant oval with three layers. I had the brown for the outside, took fleece for the middle to create a bit of warmth, as I was debuting this at DaishoCon 2018, and finally, another layer of blue cotton to make the inside. I dyed a bit of the inside layer, obviously not on the other pieces. I decided painting would be best to finish before sewing. I traced lines on the outside in pencil so I could easily paint over it. I took a sponge and mixed three shades of brown and splotched it around where the lines were going to be. Black lines were added on top and left to finish drying.
The inside of the shell only had a couple of spots where I could check and recreate, so I got to make more artistic decisions. Obviously, if you are wanting to make Blastoise, you'd be able to do whatever you wanted. I took four 6 inch by 44 inch pieces and sewed them together, as well as two more 6x22 inch pieces to wrap together. I sandwiched the three layers as well as the straps and white tube, flipped 'em, and finished the hole I had flipped with. The shell is finished. I really loved having the shell as it did keep me a little bit warmer during the cold winter air of Wisconsin.
Next time, we'll be finishing up with the necklace, belt, and shoes. I look forward to you reading it!