Halceles / Haleceles
DescriptionThis was my "learn to sew" project. In fact, it was my "learn how to do a lot of stuff" project. Prior to this, I had never beaded, made jewelry, used craft foam, done applique, or put together a garment from scratch. As you can imagine, it was quite the journey.
Surprisingly, it turned out to be a comfortably cool costume to wear, probably because it is so loose and flowing.
There are no official color images of this character, at least none that I could find. Another character in the manga stated that Halceles was wearing black, but the decorations were up to me, so I went with the usual sorcerer cliches of gold and red stones. Besides, I like that color combination.
Since the whole thing is pretty much black on black on black on black, I tried to use contrasting fabrics and textures. The underskirt is matte, the robe is crepe back satin, and the cloak is microsuede, and has a matte surface. The cloak is unlined to minimize heat and weight. The "wrong" side of the fabric was smooth and just a little shiny, so it looks fine.
The headdress was made from craft foam, glue (thank you EntropyHouse for the awesome tutorial), rub and buf, gold paint, acrylic floor wax for sealing, ribbon, jewelry findings, an oval red glass jewel, red glass beads, gold glass seed beads, and beading wire. The beaded drape is detachable. The whole thing actually held up better than I expected.
The necklace is made of red glass beads, gold spacer beads, beading wire, and jewelry findings. The crescent is made from craft foam and beads just like the circlet.
The underskirt is just a black skirt I found at a thrift shop. It has a nice, comfy elastic waist. I also wore a V-neck cotton tee under the costume to protect it.
The suede ankle boots came from Payless Shoe Source, and worked out so well for lots of walking that they are now part of my regular wardrobe.
The cape is a full circle cloak. There is black and gold trim on the opening edges, but not along the hem. I calculated the hem to be between 10 and 11 yards in circumference. It has a slight train (my mother's idea, since she loved the way it swept the floor and refused to mark a higher hem). To protect it, I spent a Saturday sewing hem tape over it, and am now very glad I did. It is held on with two handmade cloak pins. Despite issues with it being cumbersome, it was quite dramatic. I do really like it, and plan to repurpose it somehow. But, oh, the crud that has annealed to it that I now have to clean...
I used a retro sheath dress pattern for the robe, extended the hemline to ankle length, and left the side seams open to the lower hip. It closes in the back with an invisible zipper. The neckline was altered (NOT a job for a newbie! There are so many mistakes...) to accommodate the stand-up collar. The sleeves were hand drafted, which worked out better than the neckline but still had issues. All hems were fray-checked then encased in gold bias tape.
The wide trim in the artwork has a wandering/vermicelli pattern. I couldn't find anything like that, but I did find a gold brocade in a scrollwork pattern that was pretty close. That stuff is terrible, it frays just sitting in a box, but it's so pretty. I measured and cut out those pieces, fray-checked like crazy, then encased most of the edges in bias tape. I left the outer edges of the sleeve trim and the inner neckline edge exposed until after I fused the pieces to the tunic with heat'n'bond. I then stitched everything in place, adding gold bias tape to cover both the satin and brocade edges at the sleeves and neckline.
The stand-up collar is actually in two pieces to accommodate the zipper on the back of the robe. It was hand drafted and its rigidity was achieved with Pellon Peltex Ultra Firm stabilizer. I ironed the stabilizer between two pieces of the satin, sewed a line of stitching along the bottom to keep everything together, then sewed gold bias tape to the top edge. I left a little extra fabric loose along the bottom, and used that to hand-tack both pieces to the neckline, staying next to the edge of the stabilizer. The front of the collar is held together with a hook and eye. I tried hooks and eyes on the back, too, but there wasn't enough tension for them to stay closed. I replaced them with the button and loop method. That worked great, but the long hair of my wig wrapped around the top button shank so tightly that it had to be cut loose. Didn't stop me from wearing the costume again, but it's awfully hard on wigs... I plan to try snap tape next. *G*
I didn't realize I had made a costume that requires a wrangler to help me get into and out of it until the first time I tried to wear it with the wig. Between the wig, the giant cloak, and the big sleeves, there is just too much of it. Remove either the wig or the cloak and it is reasonably manageable. But the whole thing? Thank goodness I had an understanding roommate at Sakura-con! Oh, well, live and learn. *G*
No one recognized the character, of course. I didn't expect anyone to. What was surprising was that most people thought it was a Yugioh character. (I can't tell you how many times I heard someone go "Yugioh!" as they passed me in a hallway. *G*) It was a reasonable assumption, as when the costume was complete it did have a quasi-Egyptian vibe going on. But it seemed to be well-received, and it was fun to wear.