[COS] Becoming the Raven’s Daughter – Princess Kraehe

We’re both neck deep in planning and creating our costumes for Katsucon 2014 so it seems only appropriate that we take a look back at the construction of a costume from last year’s Katsucon: Bria’s Princess Kraehe from the Princess Tutu anime.
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Out of all the costumes I’ve made over the past few years, Princess Kraehe was the one that I was the most determined to get right.  I grew up as a ballet dance with a local company and my mother was the wardrobe mistress for said company for many years.  As a result, I had a front row seat for watching her design and construct many of the costumes used in the productions.  I’d always wanted the chance to do my own and this was it.
Right off the bat, I will say that I regret being limited by my funds.  If I could, I would’ve preferred to have worked off a much stiffer and stronger and therefore more expensive tutu base.  That would have allowed me to decorate the overlay as I please without fear of weighing it down even more.
I started with constructing the top.  I already knew that I didn’t want to make Kraehe’s typical costume that we see in the anime because it was plain black and frankly rather boring.  I also wanted this to feel functional and, as any dancer could tell you, Kraehe’s top is anything but.  I used an old recital costume bodice to draw out a pattern and then sewed it, using hooks and eyes to fasten it in the back.  To give the illusion of the plunging neckline, I cut a deep V into the front, sewed in a flesh coloured inset to hold it together, and then deepened the illusion by outlining the V with a black and gold trim.
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Here, of course, is where the fun begins and when my table began to look like a sparkly bird died on my workstation.

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The biggest challenge was finding a way to still make the costume shine without using too much gold or making it unrecognizable.  I took inspiration from the Odile!Kraehe artwork mainly for the large backwards S shapes that were formed by a thin black and gold cord.  For the tutu itself, I purchased a basic one from Ebay for about $35 in the interest of both my wallet and my sanity.  My first step though was to create an overlay to sew all of the decorations to.  This was the last time during the construction process that I got to use my sewing machine.  The black sequin trim around the edge is all hand-sewn as are all of the S shapes.  All of this detail work gave me plenty of time to watch some old Doctor Who episodes as I sewed.

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What by far took the longest were the feathers.  Each of the little bunches of feathers was actually two feathers and a sequin sewn together.  All of them were then subsequently sewn on to the edge of the overlay along with two that were put on the top to tie everything together.
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You can see in the picture above that I’d originally planned to stitch gold sequins on sporadically.  I’d like to go back and do so one day but simply ran out of time and was just tired of sneezing feathers and sequins at that point.

Overall, the costume took about 45 hours of work of which probably 40 involved hand-stitching or designing.  I’m very happy with how it turned out and I’m glad to have had the chance to finally design and decorate my own tutu.  Maybe one day, I’ll even get the chance to go back and give it a few upgrades so it’s a proper pancake tutu…

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