Princess Mononoke Costume

I’m going to try to keep this one quick. This year I went all out and hand made and entire Princess Mononoke costume. If you’ve never seen the movie, here’s a classic image of her:

I had never really sewn anything before, but I figured this would be a good project for sewing since she’s meant to be pretty ragged anyway. I had my mum help me with the dress: we hung some fabric over my shoulders and pinned it down my sides, then sewed along the pins and turned it inside out. Then I’d put it on and we’d pin for parts to cut or sew along the arm holes.

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After that primer, I made the white shirt myself. Again, I cut a very rough and over-sized shirt piece, hung it over my shoulders and pinned it where I thought it should be cut and sewn. Then I’d take it off, pin it carefully, put it back on and check it. I did this three or four times before I was happy with the shape.

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I also realized I would need some elastic holding the sides together (as opposed to just stitching it — I’d never be able to get it over my head.) I could only find white elastic, but the lady at the fabric store suggested I could dye it a more natural color with tea, which worked really well.

IMG_4846For the furry coat I bought some very furry fabric and simply cut it to size, pinning it over my shoulders. From there, I went to work on her jewelry. I CAD’ed the teeth for the necklace, as well as the gems for her arms and head and her earrings.

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I quickly decided the jewels I had made were too big and clunky. Instead I found some cheap gems at the craft store and was able to epoxy them onto strips of black elastic, which I was much happier with.

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I thought about the earrings long and hard. Most costumes I saw online had dangling earrings; I really wanted mine to come up over the ear lobe. I seriously considered trying to build a post into the part. Instead, I took the safety-pin approach and hot glued a safety pin onto the inside. (First I sanded down the end of the safety pin to make sure I didn’t accidentally give myself a new piercing.) It took some carefully wiggling at the mirror to get it in, but it worked great. Unfortunately the earrings were a little heavy. If I did it again I would either thin them down or print them hollow (if possible — they’re already pretty thin) to decrease the weight.

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Spray paint and sanding over the teeth gave them a very realistic look, and then I threaded them onto some black paracord to make the necklace. Since in the movie her necklace never falls according to the physics of gravity, I had to pin the necklace to the shirt to get it to dangle just right.

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All in all it was pretty legit and many an anime fan recognized me on Halloween.

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