Uniforms for a butt-load of westerners who won’t fit the standard Chinese eBay sizing when the game hasn’t even been translated to English yet? Yes.
When I was invited to this group in 2011, I thought it would be a great challenge. What I wasn’t expecting was the chaos that followed. While we had the 14 members of the group, not only we were not all located within the same city (and in some cases, the same country) but we all had different skill sets and levels.
First thing’s first: gather everyone’s measurements. While a handful of us could sew, the majority either were not confident in their abilities or simply didn’t have the time. So, I spent a week or so meeting up with those nearby and having others send me their measurements as best as possible. From there I matched up their numbers to their character; even though they wear uniforms, Class 0 all have different jacket styles, cape lengths and even little accessories.
It begins A photo posted by sheenaduquette (@sheenaduquette) on
Here we go.. !!! #cosprogress #finalfantasy #type0 A photo posted by sheenaduquette (@sheenaduquette) on
Thankfully there was still a large amount of uniformity across the board. We did a group order of the shoulder epaulets/pauldrons from China for the sake of having them all look the same, as well as for time. The golden clasps were also ordered in bulk. Unfortunately at the time we could not decide on how to go about the plaid, and so the cheapest option was chosen: masking off the cotton with tape and hand painting it.
Type 0’s skirts, 2/5 painted. #cosprogress A photo posted by sheenaduquette (@sheenaduquette) on
Once that was over, I could move onto sewing. I devised a formula to calculate each member’s waist/hip measurements to allow for the same yardage to be used for each skirt. To keep close to the game’s design, they were all counter-clockwise knife-pleated with a folded hem and invisible zipper installed at the back, with the exception of Rem who has a black ruffled under-skirt. While I wasn’t able to finish sewing Rem’s completely, I did pin and explain it to the cosplayer before handing it off.
Looking back, the majority of this project’s difficulty didn’t come from the actual labor, but the organizing. From collecting money and coordinating measuring appointments, to scheduling workshop sessions around my job, the work itself remained pretty monotonous, as thankfully it wasn’t really anything I hadn’t already made before.
And of course, for such a large group, I had to keep swatches and code numbers for the fabrics we used, since I appropriately anticipated running out here and there. Really the sheer amount that needed to be done was somewhat overwhelming given the time frame, but I managed to persevere with a lot of help from other members of the group who offered their time to meet me at home after work in the last week.
6/10 capes, 3/7 skirts, 0/9 jackets, 0/49 straps, props as pictured, 10 days to go. #cosprogress! A photo posted by sheenaduquette (@sheenaduquette) on
Every hour I was at work I was counting off lists of tasks remaining for when I got home. Somehow I managed to time my mornings in a way that allowed for some speed-sewing while waiting for my scheduled bus to show up. For such a small window as that, I ended up sewing the straps for the jackets in that time. I didn’t have a teflon foot so I used some scotch tape on the underside, and fed the material through on top of wax paper.
A photo posted by sheenaduquette (@sheenaduquette) on
Somehow I managed the time to put in darts and fake pockets for the boys’ jackets, as well as the breast pockets for the girls’. Adding the gold trim was a step where I had my friend Kathy pin things into place before handing them to either me or the other member sewing alongside me at the time. With time running out we wound up establishing a sort of pipeline workforce which at the time was very stressful, but ultimately the most efficient way to get things done.
Even just glancing at these 6 jackets, you can see how different they are from one another. I was ho happy to see everything fit each member well, though some did need to be taken in a smidge.
Ready to be picked up by their respective owners!
The night before I left for Seattle I did the quickest test run ever and had my wig fixed up as well. My eye-bags are a testament to how ready I was to rest.
#SakuraCon day 0 complete! Lots of fun shooting and saying hi to people, but now it’s time to hunt down the rest–and eat dinner! #cosplay #sice #finalfantasy #type0 #elesa #pokemon A photo posted by sheenaduquette (@sheenaduquette) on
I made sure to do a quick test-run in Seattle before the start of the actual con to see if anything would need to be fixed, but thankfully all was good!
Waiting for everyone in the lobby. A photo posted by sheenaduquette (@sheenaduquette) on
Eventually everything came together and we got some really amazing, memorable group shots. It was really something to see the months of work come to fruition.