The costume is done

June 11, 2010

Remember the little costume preview I gave you a few weeks ago?

Well the convention is over so I’m now happy to share the full costume with you. My husband’s colleague went to the Anime North convention in the west end at the end of May. He wanted to go as Gaara from Naruto.

Now, by all reports, Gaara is generally a scowly guy who wears a long cloak with a nehru collar, and also wears a leather harness/vest to hold his giant gourd in place. This giant gourd contains sand which he uses as a weapon throughout the series.

All in all, he sounds like an interesting character to portray for the weekend.

Because the series is animated, it took a bit to establish which colours and which version of the costume was the right one to go with. We decided to go with the black cloak and tan harness/vest version rather than the burgundy cloak and grey vest version that I also saw.

 The cloak was fairly simple to make as it closely resembles Neo’s coat in the Matrix so Simplicity 5386 made the whole process much easier. Because the convention took place at the end of May I knew the weather would be warm enough that anyone wearing black from head to toe would appreciate lightweight fabric so I made it out of a nicely textured, extra wide and extra heavy broadcloth. I found it had the weight and drap desired without being too heavy to wear all day.

The leather is a suede end that was on sale. I drafted the piece myself based on the measurements of the client. And I also made a really basic pair of drawstring pants with pockets to complete the costume.

The costume itself didn’t take that long to make. As usual for me, setting in the sleeves was the most time consuming part – well  that and finishing all  the seams which, even with my serger, is something I always wish sewn projects would magically do for themselves.

What took the most time was making the gourd filled with ammunition sand. I needed something solid enough that it wouldn’t fall apart at the first touch but light enough that it could sit on the back of a real human being all day long.

I tried several different things. In the end I wound up creating a wire base, covering it with newspaper and a few layers of papier mache. Then I finished it by covering that with a layer of tissue paper and podgey to give it a smooth finish. I painted it terra cotta and added in the black paint details.

Here are the results:

I’m actually more proud of the gourd than I am of the cloak and vest. I knew I could do them, I wasnt so sure about the gourd and many convention goers who go as Gaara seem to skip the gourd. I’m glad I didn’t have to give up on it and my husband’s colleague could have the full Gaara look.

He’s not nearly so scowly though.


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