On Pins and Broken Needles

Mistress 9 (NoFlutter)

Character Name:
Mistress 9
Sailor Moon
Costume Variation:
Debuted At:
Otakuthon 2015

Reference / Design Sketches

  • Mistress 9 (© NoFlutter / Naoko Takeuchi)

Costumes Notes

The Story

I'd like to start this by saying that I have a lot of extremely talented and wonderful cosplay friends. By some miracle in the universe, I'm lucky to count people like MeltingMirror, Calamity, Elemental, and Jayuna amongst my close friends (among others). For Katsucon 2015, they—along with VickyBunnyAngel, Nomadic Goldfish, ShushuWafflez, Jelly, Angelica, and Ellysetta Rain (yes, I'm name dropping, but check out their stuff and then pretend you don't want to be associated with this group)—assembled a group to do noFlutter's burlesque redesigns of the Sailor Moon scouts. And they rocked it. So much pretty and poof and pleats and all the gorgeousness.

As the photos started surfacing of their epicness, I knew I wanted to join in the next time they assembled. For a while I toyed with doing a re-design of Luna (this was prior to noFlutter releasing her own version), but was suffering from a creative-design drought. And then I got consumed making other costumes (Kate Bishop, Postal Agitha, Adelita) and the project stagnated. The group decided that they wanted to re-wear the outfits at Otakuthon because damn if that city isn't pretty. And at about the same time, noFlutter released Dark Lady and Mistress 9: MissMessyMia claimed Dark Lady, and I claimed Mistress 9.

Fabric was ordered online and some found locally and I started work on the chain-loops: things were happening. And then summer happened. From May to August, I had a convention, family vacation, or mandatory event almost every other weekend. The weekends in between were spent catching up on the sleep and trying to recuperate from life. Needless to say, not a whole lot of sewing got done, but Otakuthon continued to be an oncoming train in the ever-nearing future.

About a week and a half before Otakuthon, I actually really got to work on Mistress 9. I had managed to keep working on small bits and pieces of the costume over the summer, such as the chainwork and the paniers, but nothing major had been completed. In all honestly, I probably should have called it there and said it wasn't going to get done and made a less ambitious costumes instead. But I underestimated the work and overestimated my abilities and bunkered down to get this costume done in time for the group photoshoot on Sunday morning of Otakuthon.

I didn't sleep much that week. I barely saw any of Otakuthon because I was either staffing an event all day Friday (frantically sewing and painting anytime I was able to sit down for more than five minutes), or in my hotel room sewing. I only really saw my friends because they were either staffing with or participating in that event, or they were helping me assemble my costume Saturday night in the hotel room because they're wonderful and fantastic people. I had to cancel a photoshoot I had booked on Saturday because I was still frantically sewing.

But by 3am Saturday night, I had something to wear Sunday morning. Then morning came, I was pretty, the photoshoot went well, and things were good in the end. Except the blisters on my feet from too small shoes. That were bad.

But I'm still not sure if it was worth it. I was (and still am) so happy to have been able to participate in the group shoot on Sunday morning and with what I had gotten done. But in hindsight, the amount of sanity and the limited time with friends-from-afar that I had to sacrifice to get the costume done probably wasn't worth it. This is the last time I do major costume work in a hotel room at the con. I hope to keep this resolution going forward: that if the costume isn't wearable the day before I leave for a con, I stop there and pack something else to wear.

Technical Breakdown

The base of the costumes was made for Otakuthon 2015, but in the months following, I redid parts, properly finished others, and blinged out the rest.

The corset is made with an 8 panel inner support layer (fully bone with spring and spiral steel) and a six panel fashion layer so to match the artwork. The bolero is made from a stretch cotton sateen, and the thigh-highs and gloves are made from a 4-way stretch nylon. I decided to use both fabrics on the corset as do get a bit of coherency to the entire costume, but in the end the fabrics ended up matching so well that you can barely tell that the side panels are a different fabric from the front panels.

The skirt is a lovely metallic silver taffeta, which I also used to make the bias tape and piping used on the corset and the bolero. The bottom hem of the underskirt is ~3m and trimmed with a translucent organza ribbon and tiny little Czech crystals for an added bit of sparkle.

The head pieces is part of Halloween thorns I picked up in the Michael's floral department. It's covered in a lovely layer of black glitter so it sparkles ever so nicely, and sheds glitter everywhere. The roses were originally white, but spray painted silver, then mounted on a piece of felt covered worbla, which is then hot-glued onto a some hair combs.

The tights are sewn into swimsuit lining to form a pair of leggings (yay for not slipping down my legs), and the outerwear-underwear just slips on top. This, combined with the ordering in which things must be put on, means that I have to remove ~85% of the costume to use the washroom. I don't drink much while wearing this.

And the coup de grace on the entire costume is the 8m or so of looped chain. No, I didn't buy it like that, I added each and everyone one of those jump rings to a simple chain picked up at Michael's. I'm doing my best to not think of the amount of time put into those chains, but I'm glad that I did.

WIP Photos

  • Corset and basic skirt done just prior to Otakuthon
  • Muslin mockup of the bolero
  • State of the costume half-way through post-Otakuthon repairs/completion
  • Bottom half complete
  • Working on the last little bit of chain required


  • © 2015 Pitfire Photography
  • © 2015 Pitfire Photography
  • © 2015 Pitfire Photography
  • © 2015 Open Shutter Photography
  • © 2015 Open Shutter Photography
  • © 2015 Open Shutter Photography
  • © 2015 Daniel Guertin Photography
  • © 2015 Daniel Guertin Photography
  • © 2015 Tooma Productions
  • © 2016 Elemental Photography and Design
  • © 2016 Elemental Photography and Design
  • © 2016 Elemental Photography and Design
  • © 2016 Elemental Photography and Design
  • © 2016 Elemental Photography and Design
  • © 2016 Elemental Photography and Design
  • © 2016 Elemental Photography and Design


Cosplayer Links