Chaser John Doe: Yumekui Merry

Cats. Demons. Glorious red cloaks.
You must be thinking, “This must be something out of Jackie’s crazy dreams.” Nope. Just another crazy anime series. Crazy good! I finally got to make an anime costume. I am beyond excited!
Our friend Alex has been wanting a Chaser John Doe (Yumekui Merry) costume to wear to Anime Expo now for about a year. We hadn’t had the time with other commissions last year but this year we were able to fit it in. And fit it in we did! There are a few things I will go back and change (as there are with most fully wearable costumes) but altogether it came out great.
As my friend Shannon pointed out, this was a perfect fit for me since almost all of my favorite characters in animes end up having long red coats or capes. This was no different.  It didn’t take much to get me on board .
I had a lot of fun making this one and working with Alex on this. I was able to ::gasp:: weather  it as well!! Garrick did the mask, ears, and cast the face pieces for the boots. Alex and his dad made the “sword.” It was truly a group effort and I am very excited with how it came out. We learned a few new techniques along the way which is always a bonus.
We have a few pictures we snagged from Alex from AX and we’ll be doing a proper shoot for it when it cools down (We live in AZ, it’s 110+ right now, going out in a cape in all black sounds like a nightmare…)
Garrick decided to tackle the mask and ears. He should be doing a post about it on the Prop section at the top. New format you say? Why yes! We decided to brand both pages with KnowOne’s Designs and separate the 2 into sewing and props. As cleaver as one black catsuit is, we should be more consistent.
That being said… here’s the new layout! 
Since this is the sewing section let me tell you a little about what I did for this project.
I tend to start on the one part of the costume that makes me the most excited about making it. Once I have that planned, the rest usually falls into place. For this one it was the cloak (surprise).
I started with the hood since that was the part I needed the most time to plan. I had an idea of how to make it work but I still wanted to give myself some time in case I had to go a different route.
I bought a crepe-like material that was very light weight and had a very worn texture to it. Anime characters usually walk a fine line between unnaturally pristine and clean and weathered. This was no exception. I wanted all of the wear to be in the cloak since that was the part that had the most expression. Hence looking for a very expressive material. I needed something with character and that was very light weight. John Doe has a very jagged point on the back of the cloak’s hood and I wanted to try to keep that as expressive and exaggerated as possible.
I also wanted to keep some contrast since this anime is drawn with a lot of contrasting blacks to off set the white and the red in the costume. I decide to put black in the hood to off set the mask and hide any extra parts of the baclava that you might see. The rest of the cloak I left red so I could weather it on both sides.

This would have a better effect if I were wearing the mask buuut this was done in a short amount of time and as usual, I didn’t take as many pictures as I would have liked to. I do like the frayed edge this material had that I left on the hood. Added bonus for pre-existing creepy features!
(Side note: I am not naked in this picture. Garrick pointed this out the other day. I’m letting you all know so you don’t think I’m a creep and run around wearing other people’s commissions naked around the house…or do I? You may never know….)

Once I was happy with how the hood looked I started on the cloak. It is actually in 3 pieces, the hood, the shoulder “shawl” and the cape part. I did this since the way his cloak is drawn I couldn’t figure out how to make the it look the same and keep in in one single piece. This way it looks like it’s all together but it’s not. It’s also easier to put on this way.
I made the general shapes for everything, sewed it two layers thick and then started weathering it. My favorite part!!
I cut the cape at the bottom to look like it’s been ripped, stepped on, and caught on things and shredded. I then soaked in in coffee concentrate. It smelled glorious for days until the next step. I then spray panted it in a way to take into consideration how fabric would wear and adsorb dirt, from the ground up. The darkest parts were closest to the ground and it gradually became lighter the farther up it went. Again, I wish I had taken more pictures.

Once I was happy with this I moved onto the rest. I used a black catsuit for the base of the suit (surprise!) and sewed some white bias tape up the front for the lines. I got some white gloves, sewed a more flared cuff on them and made some boot covers. Alex really wanted the toe to be square so we went looking for some steel toed bots and then I padded the toe with some quilting batting to make it extra square and boxy. I was pretty darn proud of these! Garrick found a tiny oval mold and cast the little John Doe faces out of resin for us to glue to the boots. Small details are always the part that make a simple costume go the extra mile. We could have done these out of fabric, but they looked so much more polished being 3D and cast out of resin.

My second favorite part was the belt. My machine can sew soft leather! This was super exciting for me. I used the base of an adjustable webbed belt and sewed the soft leather on top. I then cut and glued the little belt loops and the front and then sewed them for added stability. I wouldn’t use them as functioning loops, but at least they’re not going to get damaged.

Not the best picture but now you can see how the tail attaches and how I sewed the leather on it while still keeping it adjustable.
(This was the cape pre-weathering)

And here it is in it’s natural habitat, Anime Expo!

Now I need to start watching this anime….
Also, he has a kitty form…in a cape!

This needs to be in my life…

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