Cowslip Blastoise Build: Shirt/Obi/Pants
So, I decided I wanna break down the build posts for Blastoise since there was so so much that went into each part. For this one, I thought we would specifically tackle the shirt, obi, and pants. These were all made completely from scratch and hand dyed myself, so let's get started!
I started with the ivory colored cotton and drew out a rough pattern in my sketchbook for how I wanted it to come out. I do this for a lot of the patterns I make, as it's easier to visualize it. I'm sure you can find a pattern somewhere if you are attempting your own build. I cut out the pieces and then cut up strips of brown. I made them 1.5 inches wide to give it enough to make sure I had enough of a lip and could sew the shirt together.
After I sewed it together, I did a quick tea dye with some Earl Grey tea. I got it steaming, only having it to Medium on my stove. The shirt only sat in the tea for about 5 minutes, before I took it out and let it air dry. Once it was dry, I painted the leaves onto it with tan and white acrylic paint. To finish it off, I tried it on, pinned where the hooks would sit, then hand sewed the hook and eyes into it so they wouldn't fall down.
Next: THE OBI
When working on cosplays that have layers, you'll want to work from the closest to your body outwards. This helps cut down on making things too tight and can save you a bit of time in the long run. I worked on the undershirt before making the obi to make sure I was 100% positive that I wasn't going to make it too tight. Unfortunately, my anxiety got the best of me and I made it a little too big, but that's also not much of a problem as you can always make it smaller.
The obi was fairly simple. While the tea from the undershirt was still steaming, I cut out a long rectangle of fabric from the same Ivory cotton as the undershirt. Then, I quickly sewed it together, then flipped it, and made a top stitch to keep it from moving while dying it. Threw that bad boy in the pot for about 10 minutes (I wanted it a little darker than the undershirt.) and let that air dry. The tea gave it a textured look, and wasn't consistent throughout, which probably could have been avoided, had I used salt in the water before throwing the tea in. This opens the pores of the fibers to make it more susceptible to dyeing. I really enjoy the inconsistency, but if you are wanting it to be a judged piece for cosplay competitions, judges can mark off for that.
After it was completely dry, I ironed out this piece and painted the stripes on with the same brown as the stripes from the undershirt, without the white. A good way to keep consistent lines is to take a yard stick and a pencil and lightly draw on the garment before painting. I didn't do this because I was in the middle of con crunch and trying to finish 6 kigus and all of Blastoise at the time. Learn from my mistakes, kids. When the stripes were dry, I put the undershirt on, wrapped the obi around myself, and pinned where I needed to put hook and eyes to make it snug. I didn't make it as snug as I could have, as I needed to breathe and didn't want to worry about too much slipping around. Thus completed the obi.
Finally for this post: PANTS
Now, pants aren't always necessary for cosplays, but obviously this isn't about other cosplays! Once you've made a pair of pants for cosplay, it gets significantly easier each time you make em. The easiest way I have found to make pants without a pattern is to take a pair of pants that already fit you, flip them inside out, fold them in half, and trace them on paper or the fabric. For Blastoise, I had to make them much much bigger as they are meant to be harem pants. I made em fit with an elastic band, which I made by taking the hem of the pants and folding it over about an inch, and left it open approximately an inch and a half and feeding a piece of elastic that is 2 inches shorter than my waist through. I finished feeding it through (You take a safety pin and attach it to the end of the elastic and pulling it through.) and sewed the two ends together. I pulled the elastic into the hem and sewed it shut. I hemmed the bottoms, then made button holes on it to make it easier and more stable to string later.
For the pants, there is also a type of skirt thing that goes over the pants. This was a little confusing and I wasn't sure if it was meant to be an overlay, or a wrap? So I made a quick circle skirt and sewed it over the top of the pants. Once that was completed, I hemmed the skirt and got ready to dye. I used Rit's Navy dye for this part, as well as for the mini jacket (that's in my next Blastoise build post). I got it nice and steaming, and laid out the pants on the floor on top of a trash bag to make sure it didn't stain. I took a natural sponge (can be found at Walmart, JoAnn's, Michael's, and Hobby Lobby) and dipped it into the dye, making sure not to drip too much, then splatter painted the lower legs. I did this lightly, letting it dry for about 20 minutes before going over it again or making lighter spots. Once that was finished, I dip-dyed the skirt. I let it sit in the dye for about 3 minutes, then pulled it out and let it air dry.
After all the pieces were dry, I pulled a couple of pieces of brown bias tape about 25 inches and strung the pant legs. I tied it with a knot loosely at the bottom and called it a day. I made sure it was tight enough not to slip around too much, but not too tight to cut off circulation. I also wanted to be able to slip my feets through when I was ready to rip everything off.
I hope this walk through was helpful! As always, you're more than welcome to message or email to ask questions!