1. The Dress & The Vest
I think the sewing for this project will be pretty simple, and I'm looking forward to the chance to experiment a little and make things look rough and natural. I'm not sure precisely why San's dress is purple, but this is an anime from 1997 so you have to cut it some slack for unusual costume choices.
So, I found a relatively simple sundress sort of pattern at Jo-Ann, and I'll be using the one I circled for the dress. It's not perfect, but it's sleeveless and frill-free, and the skirt seems to billow in an an appropriate way. San's dress is actually a little shorter than this, but I'll need to chop up the bottom anyway to get that ragged leather look, so it's good that the pattern will give me extra room. For the vest, I'm basically just going to wing it. It looks to me as though it's just two rectangles with shoulder straps, and I think I can manage that easily enough without a pattern. For fabric, I chose polyester Microsuede, which has a nice suede texture without the exorbitant price tag or merciless care needs. It also feels a lot lighter than I imagine real suede does, so I think it will have the proper expressive flow that any Miyazaki character's costuming (and hair) absolutely demand.
2. The Cloak & The Mask
Here we have pretty much the defining items of a Mononoke cosplay. Without the epic, iconic white wolf cloak and mask, San is just a loopy girl who lives in the woods. When it comes to sewing, the cloak is pretty much a no-brainer. It's just a big, roughly cut piece of faux fur. But! When it comes to attaching it to the rest of the outfit, things get tricky. If you look closely, you'll see that the cloak appears to be attached at two places: The back of the mask, and the necklace. Apparently, it's actually two separate pieces of fur: one hanging off her back, and one hanging off the back of the mask. Cloak to mask should just be a simple matter of hot glue, but if I'm feeling ambitious and I have extra time I may try to fashion some little straps to attach the two pieces in a more naturalistic way. The trick with the necklace seems to be in balancing the two so the cloak doesn't just pull down your back and choke you to death. I think I'll try putting some weights in the beads to hold it down, but I may end up having to attach it in some other way. Ideally, I'd like to be able to wear the dress and vest without the cloak, but Miyazaki does not seem to have given enough thought to the actual practicalities of how this thing is supposed to work as a garment. As for the mask, I've found a pretty solid guide here that involved paper mache, a bowl, and some napkin rings. I don't really have any of those things yet, but once I realized that I had everything to make the dress and vest, I decided I'd make those first instead of the mask. I foresee a trip to Target in the near future!
3. The Accessories
Finally, there's everything else: The knife, the earrings, the toothy necklace, the armbands, the headband, and the shoes. Accessories are, of course, very important, so I've armed myself with clay and paint and glue and knives and clip-on earring backs and so forth:
I think I'll probably end up needing some more clay in various colors, but I intend to get the "big stuff" done as soon as possible so that I have lots of time to play around with accessories and putting the outfit together. Anyway, today is my first sewing day, so wish me luck on my new project, and look forward to more updates soon!