Friday, August 12, 2011

Diary of a Summoner [Vol. 2]

Hey everyone,

Alaurei  here checking in with the latest installment on my Yuna cosplay. I know it's been a while since we've updated, but we want you to know that we're alive! We have both been very busy, with me personally having a 9-10PM job working on video games as an internship this summer. Now that my internship is almost done, school is about to start up again which means I might have time to update more!

Enough of that, it's time for the good stuff. So I finished my Final Fantasy X Yuna costume just in time for Fanime this year (literally hours before the Con). It was stressful and there are parts of it that were rushed and I know I already want to change. I'll outline those in here for sure. But for now, I want to go through the step-by-step process of how I went about making my costume. Please refer to the first post about outlining and purchasing materials for the costume.

First off, I have a video that compliments this written out tutorial. For more of a visual representation of the steps, please check out the video. When I have a step listed that is included in the video, I will let you know and provide a link. For now, here is the process.

It took me a long time to plan out how to approach this cosplay. I watched these great videos on youtube of another Yuna cosplayer breaking down her costume which gave me a good foundation to start with. I highly recommend watching these as well (Check her out: HiyokoChan). Also, as I always recommend with my tutorials, plan things out in advance. I did all of my measuring and purchased all of my supplies before I started.

Items I Purchased:

+Wig (Found on Ebay)
+Boots (My mother already owned them)
+Yuna Necklace (Found on Ebay)

Part I : Sleeves and Top

  • Yuna's top is much like the tradition wrap of a Japanese Kimono. Therefore, to stay with what is traditional, I made it all out of one piece (essentially). The piece was a long rectangle that curved at the very end so that it could attach to the obi for stability. Make sure to measure yourself before cutting out this piece of fabric!

  • The white part of the top that shows under the Obi can seem somewhat of a pain. But have no fear, there is a trick! Make two small, separate rectangle pieces to sew directly onto the Obi to give the appearance that the wrap continues underneath the Obi. For the actual top/wrap, sew on two snaps to each end of the rectangle piece, and sew on the snap attachments to the Obi. Make sure to position this properly before actually sewing the snaps on to make sure it fits comfortably. When you wear your top now, you can attach it to the Obi so both stay on!

  • The black bra piece can also seem a bit daunting. I purchased black swimwear fabric and hand-sewed this onto cup inserts that I bought at the fabric store as well. I then bought black bias tape that I used as the straps and attached those to the cup pieces. This does not give the best support, but it is the most accurate to the character (sorry for girls who are more like, and less like the actual character, this is a pain to wear).
  • Yuna's sleeves are actually really fun to make. I used the same white fabric that I bought for Yuna's top. For the pattern, draw out a large rectangle that is roughly the length you want the sleeves (hint: drape a measuring tape over your arm, holding your arm out in front of you, to get a good idea of how long you want them). In the middle of the rectangle, and at the top, draw a second rectangle. This piece is for your arm, so make sure to measure the circumference of your accurately! Now that you have the pattern, cut out two of these pieces (depending on your fabric, you may have to double up, meaning cut out four pieces).

  • Once you have the pieces cut out, fold the fabric directly in half (so that both the small rectangle and the big rectangle are halved). Sew along the seam, allowing for room for your arm to slide in near the smaller rectangle, and leave room on the other side of the bigger rectangle for the wrist area. After sewing, turn the pieces inside out. 

  • When wearing the sleeves, if you find that they are slipping, buy a small pack of elastic at your fabric store. Measure the elastic around the circumference of your arm and make sure it's snug! Stitch the elastic closed so it is a complete circle. Then attach this to the inside of your sleeve, hand stitching the elastic in a few areas. This will help hold up the sleeve without making it look too tight. 

  • For the ribbon, buy some at your fabric store and attach the beads. Then, buy white bias tape and sew this onto your sleeves as well (I recommend hand-stitching here). Loop the ribbon through and tie it off. 
Part I.II : Gradient Dye Tutorial
Note: I have only ever dyed fabric once, and it was for these sleeves (I was lucky to get it right the first time). I highly recommend doing your research before starting this process as it would seriously suck to ruin something that could have easily been prevented. Here are a few of the things I learned.

  • Follow the instructions on the packing to the extreme. Many tutorials online will tell you to alter the water temperature, or add more salt or detergent or other recommendations. I think following the instructions supplied by the company is extremely important, as they know exactly what you're talking about. Unless you are more experienced with dyes and know what you're doing, I would stick to the box.
  • Work outside - this keeps things a lot cleaner and prevents dye getting on anything in your house. Yes, it was a pain to boil water and bring it all outside, but it saved me a huge mess of cleaning the kitchen.
  • Always have gloves on. This will ensure that you don't dye yourself. I recommend having multiple pairs in case you get too much dye on the first pair, or you are working with multiple colors. It's always easier to have a spare that you can switch to.
  • Be patient. If you pull the fabric out of the dye to early the color will fade. The color you see in the bucket, and the color you see immediately on your fabric after pulling it out, is vastly different than what your final product will be. As the dye dries into the fabric, it will lighten. Keep this in mind as you die.
  • For doing a gradient, work from lightest to darkest. Meaning, add the smallest amount of dye into the pot, and submerge the largest amount of fabric into the put (in the case of my Yuna cosplay, I dipped the sleeves in almost all the way up to the arms). After doing the first bath, pull the fabric out and add more of the dye mixture. Then, add the fabric back into the bath but do not put it in as far before. Keep in mind that dye will continue to bleed or crawl up the sleeve, so give yourself about an extra inch for water working its way up the fabric.
  • Do your dying in advance - the fabric will take a long time to dry (especially if you're like me and let it dry naturally outside). It may take a couple of days for the fabric to completely dry. Also note that you will have to work fairly quickly with the dye, because as your boiling water begins to cool, the dye will lose some of its potency. So plan ahead to have enough time and have all of your materials ready before you start.
Part II : The Obi
  • The Obi is the most complicated parts of the costume but if planned out, it doesn't have to be difficult. You can break the Obi down into several pieces: The gold waist, the pink waist, the small bow, the large bow, and the bow cover. I will talk about each below.

  • For the gold waist piece, measure out a gold rectangle that is the width of your waist, and the height of your bust to about your hips. For the height, double this amount for the pattern. In this rectangle, I attached interfacing to the top half. This added more support for the piece overall, giving it a resemblance to the traditional stiffness in the Japanese Obi fabric. I then folded the bottom gold half on top of that, and sewed the pieces together. This will serve as the base for the Obi.

  • For the pink waist piece, I measured out the same waist width that I used for the gold piece, but I made the height only about 5 - 7 inches. The reason for this is that it only needs to give off the effect that there is a second piece behind the Obi. When in reality, we will merely sew this piece to the top of the gold base in the back. Once measured, attach to the base. Once the pink piece is attached, sew on a small zipper to connect the Obi waistband.

  • The small gold bow was made out of two rectangle gold pieces of fabric. I sewed the top and bottom together, leaving the two smaller edges open. Flip the tube inside out. I then brought those two edges together by folding the piece in half, and sewed the two smaller sides together. I then flipped this inside out again. What you should have is a large, gold hoop. Lay this flat with the attached sides in the back, hidden from view. This is the base of the small bow.

  • The large gold bow is exactly the same as the smaller bow, it is just larger in size. Make sure to measure it out in comparison to your body so that it is proportional to the bow on Yuna. Her Obi bow is very large and dramatic so make sure yours can stand out. If the fabric you purchased for your bow is seeming to soft or limp, try to use interfacing or multiple layers to give it support.

  • The bow cover is essentially a rectangle with a more narrow side. This angled shape gives the appearance that it is the tied part of your bow. Cut out two pieces, and follow the same steps you did to make the two bow pieces. This part especially needs to be stiff and supportive, so make sure that it is strong.

  • Once you have all of your Obi pieces sewn, it is time to paint! Make sure to print or several reference pictures of Yuna's Obi (these can easily be found online). I penciled in the design onto the fabric first before I painted. This process takes a very long time, so be prepared. It also takes a lot of patience. If you really want to be thorough, paint the inside of the two bow pieces so that when you flare it out, the design continues on the inside as well.

  • Now that all of your pieces are ready, it's time to assemble! For the bows, pinch the rectangles in the middle to flare out the edges, this will give the appearance of a bow. Do this so that both bows lay on top of each other, and share the same pinched-section. Stitch the middle together so that it stays pinched. Once this is done, attach the bow piece to the bow cover piece you made. This might take a while (as you have to do this all by hand-sewing) but be patience. This needs extra support for wearing around.

  • Wearing the Obi - Now that you have the Obi actually made, to put on the piece, slide the bow cover (with both bows attached) onto your Obi waistband. Put the waistband on your waist and zip it up. Then, slide the bow and its cover over the zipper, hiding it completely. If your bow is sliding around while wearing, attach snaps to the bow cover and the Obi waistband so that you can snap it into place. (Note: The rope/cord and accessory piece that is worn with the Obi will be covered below).
Part III : The Skirt
  • First off, this part was the hardest for me and is probably the part that I will remake. Measuring for pleats of any sort is very difficult, and doing a pleated full-length skirt is quite a challenge. So the first step of this process is to make sure you have plenty of patience before attempting Yuna's skirt.

  • Measuring for pleats is a bit tricky. Read up on some tutorials before you begin. On average, you will need your fabric to be three times the width you would normally measure for your waist. A note about Yuna's waist measurement: her skirt rests high on her waist (about a little below her bust, instead of at her waist or hips). Take this into account. As for length, leave yourself extra room at the bottom for wearing boots with a little heel (like Yuna does in the game).

  • Once you have your measurements, cut out the large rectangle. Then, take a second measurement of your actual waist line (or where you want the skirt to rest). Make a pattern for a rectangle with that width, and a length of about 8 inches. This will be the band that we attach the pleats to.

  • Line up your waist band piece at the top and center of your long skirt rectangle. This will serve as a guide for the pleats. Mark off the middle of this piece, as it will be the right side of the skirt. The left side of the skirt is the open slit. Now, in between that mark and right edge, mark the middle of that. Do the same thing on the other side of the rectangle. You should have three markings, dividing up the band into four equal pieces. We will label these pieces accordingly: Front right, Front left, Back left, Back right.

  • On your skirt rectangle, measure out and find the middle. Make a mark here at the top of the fabric (this process is very similar to dividing up the band). In between that mark and the right side, measure out midway again and make a second mark. Do the same thing on the left side as well. Again, you should have three marks, dividing up the skirt into four equal pieces.

  • Your goal is to make sure these markings line up while you are doing your pleats. Therefore, the Front right panel of your skirt should fit into the front right area of your band. With that in mind, you may begin your pleating! I started in the middle of the front, so line up your right most markings and temporarily pin those together. When pinning the skirt to the band, pin the skirt at about midway on the band. What you're doing here is allowing the band to fold over and hide your stitches later. The front middle of Yuna's skirt has an inverted box pleat (see references online for how to make one of those). From there, work your way to the right most edge. You should come up exactly lined up (if you don't, unpin it all and start over). Then go back to the middle and start working your way to the left. You should now have the Front right, and Front left completed.

  • After completing the Front left set of pleats, your next set of marks should be lined up, representing the side of the skirt, or where the Front and Back panels meet. I recommend following the same pattern you did in the front, starting with the back middle. The back of Yuna's skirt has a box pleat (opposite of the inverted box pleat in the front). Once you make this, start pinning towards the Front left, which should complete your Back left panel. This leaves the Back right panel for you to pleat. If everything works out, your band and pleats should match up.

  • Now that you have the skirt completely pinned, take the piece to your machine. Run a long stitch along the top of the pleats at about halfway up the band. Once you have done that, fold about a half inch of the band down and pin it. Take this, and fold the band over the pleats so that it covers the stitch you made attaching the pleats to the band. Sew along this line to make a seam. Hold the skirt up now and make sure that the width is correct because now is your last chance to add more to the band or pleats if it is too short. If it is too long, cut along the band and its enclosed pleats. Check the skirt for length now. If the length is good, hem the bottom.

  • For wearing the skirt, I attached a small elastic band to hold the two sides together. This worked, to a certain degree, but the skirt material was so heavy that it kept pulling down. So I had to use a lot of saftey pins to hold it together. I would recommend either adding snaps or a small zipper that you can hide with the Obi when you wear the whole cosplay together.

  • The final step for making the skirt is painting on the design. I re-pinned all of my pleats so that they wouldn't move while I was painting. Because the fabric was dark, I couldn't pencil in the design by hand first. Therefore, I free handed the whole design. I know this is probably harder for some people, but just take your time and do your best! Another thing I'd like to do is mirror the design on the inside of the pleats so that if they open up in the wind it doesn't look so bizzare (this is accurate to Yuna's in-game skirt as well). Once done, iron the whole skirt to make the pleats stay in. I may try starching the skirt as well to see if that helps hold the pleats.
Part IV : Accessories
This part of the tutorial will be completed later. Check back for updates!


  1. Hi guys! Another cosplaying gamer girl here. Stumbled upon your blog not too long ago; is this still active or what?

    1. Hi Shena! The blog is being reactivated! Took a bit of a break because of school, but it'll be back up and running now! :]

  2. Hey,

    I found this cosplay tutorial very useful! I'll bookmark this so I can cosplay as Yuna next year. =) Tysm for sharing, I really, really appreciate it!

  3. I was wondering if you could help shed some light on how to make her staff >.< I'm really struggling

    1. Hi there!

      Although I haven't made her staff yet, I can tell you what I'm hoping to do. :3

      My goal is to us PVC pipe as the base, and then find a small, flat curtain rod attachment for the top and bottom. Then, I would like to use a light wood (possibly balsa) or something like foam and wonderflex, to create the actual shape of the staff head. For paint, I'd just use acrylics but be sure to seal it with a clear gloss. You can use ribbons and bells for the attachments, too.

      The toughest part, I think, is attaching the head to the pole. You can do this either with the curtain rod top, or, if you cut an indent/insert into the PVC pipe, you can add a dowel or rod/slot in the head to slide it in, and glue it to make it secure. :]

      Let me know how it goes! Good luck!

  4. Question could you yuna sleeves to make lulu?

    1. You could probably create a pattern in a similar way. However, Lulu's sleeves are very open/wide near the hand, whereas Yuna's are closed around her wrist. You can probably cut out a similar shape and just hem the edges and add lace. :] Hope that helps!

  5. Hi! Im planning on doing this cosplay for a con im going to in about 63 days. Do you think Ill have enough time if I start now? Thank you in advance! =^w^= ♥~

    1. Hi there! I think that's plenty of time to start this costume. :] I honestly made mine in a couple days once I had all of the materials. Let me know if you have any more questions, I'd love to help!

    2. Hi again! Thanks for letting me know. =^_^= Its nice knowing that I may finish in time. I was wondering what interfacing is? Also do you know how to sew belts onto fabric? My friend is going to be Lulu and we are kinda intimidated by the belt part. Thanks again! ♥~

    3. If you have the time, I would recommend making your own belts. Purchasing belts for Lulu would be quite expensive, and would weigh down the dress significantly. I might buy some on sale leather, and craft your own belts using that. You can glue/attach real buckles, or, make some out of clay. This would ensure her dress isn't dragged down too much.

      Interfacing is a fabric/material that helps reinforce or strengthen your sewing project! You most commonly find it used to stiffen collars on a suit, or something similar. It's not required, but, really helps give your piece structure.

      Hope this helps!

    4. Thank you for all your advise! I have one last question, for the Rit mixture, did you use the cherry red? Thank you so much for the help! =^w^=

    5. Hi! I actually used Petal Pink - the dye often comes out a bit darker than you would think, so go for a lighter color initially, and dye it multiple times. Hope that helps! Here's a link to the color I used:

  6. You completely lost me on the skirt part </3

  7. The link for the other blogger you watched no longer works :(