On Pins and Broken Needles


Character Name:
Pokemon, Hitec's Gijinka's designs
Debuted At:
Anime North 2012
Awards Won:
Anime North 2012 Hall Cosplay

Reference / Design Sketches

  • Hitec's gijinka Pidgeot

Costumes Notes

Back in at Anime North 2010, some of my friends did a large group of Pokemon gijinkas based on Hitec's designs. Two years later, I finally got around to making one of my own.

Pidgeot was chosen because it's one of the original 150--which means I actually recognize it as I have yet to actually play any of the Pokemon games--and while the basic outfit was fairly simple, the wings would present a challenge.

The dress was just a simple cotton princess-seamed dress with a high halter collar and low back. The bottom edge was faced to provide additional structure, while the rest of the dress was lined normally. The tail feathers were made from a bright orange cotton twill.

This costume was also an experiment in dying: the dress was dyed a darker brown to better match the felt used on the wings, the tail-feathers were tea-dyed to dull the hazard-warning orange to something tolerable, white stockings were dyed a light pink, and the under-corset was also tea-dyed to dull the bright-white.

And the discussion on dying cannot be completed without talking about the wig. The blond base wig is a light blond Le Tigre Long from Arda Wigs, and the orange highlights were part of a long ponytail clip. The ponytail clip wasn't quite the colour I wanted, so I decided to attempt dying it using the Sharpie soaking method. Things I had learned: 1) it takes forever for rubbing alcohol to evaporate; 2) No matter how well ventilated a room is, it's not ventilated enough; 3) rubbing alcohol gives nasty, nasty headaches; 4) don't attempt to dry the wig in the bathtub: you may think that the tub is protected by the many layers of plastic garbage bags and whatnot, but the dye will somehow soak through; 5) only rubbing alcohol will remove stains induced by rubbing alcohol, and it still won't remove it all; 6) a tub was stained and cleaned with rubbing alcohol is more susceptible to other stains.

Styling the wig was a bit of an adventure in itself. The original style of the wig had long bangs that I had to brush and style back (yay heat resistant wigs and Got2B Freeze Spray). The orange highlights were carefully removed from their original clip and sewn onto the wig and styled back. Cutting in the side layers once again reaffirmed that I can't cut hair, so brought the wig to my hairstylist and let her fix my mistakes. Thankfully she took up the challenge and had fun with it. (And said I can bring other wigs to her.)

And finally, the wings. I didn't want to deal with the insane challenge of dying and modifying actual feathers to get the length and colour that I wanted, so I went looking for alternatives. A lot of people use paper/cardboard, but I had seen a couple of Ah! My Goddess cosplayers that had used stiffened felt for their wings, and figured that'd work best for what I wanted.

The base of the wings is a wireframe "skeleton", fleshed out with chicken-wire, and covered in cotton batting. The feathers (stiffened with a white-glue/water mixture) are sewn, felt-glued, rubber-cemented, and contact-cemented onto the understructure. There are about 300 feathers on the wings, and probably 30 hours invested into making them. That being said, they're definitely not perfect (none of the glues were adhering properly), so I was molting from the moment I put them on.

It should be noted that the first time I was able to actually put on the wings was in the hotel room, about 10 minutes before I left to wander the convention. Theoretically I knew that they'd work and that the corset would hold them up. I just hadn't had a chance to actually test them as they required a second person to put on and I hadn't had time for company while working on them.

Despite the molting and their imperfect nature, I was quite happy with how the wings turned out. I learned a lot and my next set of wings will be considerably easier to make and should hold up a lot better.

WIP Photos