Pikabethan (Pikachu)


A lot of folks ask me how the hell I came up with this beast. When I started cosplaying three years ago, I wanted to make a Pikachu. However, at the time all I saw for 'mascot'-type costumes was skinny girls in short skirts and little tails trying to be cute and sexy. Yeah, not so much. I decided to do a Pikachu using a method I already knew.. and, having been going to Renaissance Faires for a while, I decided to blend the two together and thus the Pikabethan was born.

Well, thus the *idea* was born. I bought and dyed the fabric right away, but it took three years of on-and-off work to get the costume to the point of being finished (and even then, it's only at 99%.. because there's always more beading that can be done ^^). It was planned for the FanimeCon 2003 masquerade, but it wasn't even started by the time the con rolled around. I spent most of FanimeCon 2004 in the hotel room, sewing frantically to try to get it at least hall wearable, but.. no such luck. It was finally finished with minutes to spare (literally.. again, hotel sewing) for the CostumeCon masquerade, where it lost "Best Novice" to a girl in a chainmaille bikini. How can you beat that? *sigh*

**Construction Details**: I tried to make this costume as period-accurate as I could, while still making it Pikachu-ified. The costume is worn over a straight-fronted corset and Alcega farthingale, and a cotton chemise. The gown is made of cotton flannel (not a period choice, but oh so fuzzy!), and the sleeves and girdle (belt) are decorated with hand-painted wood pokeball beads (yes, hand-painted. where was I supposed to buy them?). The girdle (belt) was entirely made by hand using eyepins and pliers. The gold and pearl ouches were buttons that I cut the shanks off of. The underskirt is cotton sportswear fabric, with a guard of black velveteen. All the white poofs on the sleeves are actually the chemise being pulled through, not fake puffs tacked onto the back. The coif is muslin with a black velveteen veil.

The ears and tail were made using 1" and 2" thick slab foam (respectively) that I cut and covered in stiff felt from the craft store, then glued on a layer of fabric. The black ear tips are just acrylic paint. After some wearing the felt started to buckle from heat and stress, so the edges where the ears meet the coif and the tail meets the gown need to be reinforced to keep them from collapsing.

Update 2006: The ears and tail have been replaced. We had the technology; we could rebuild them. The new ears are 1" slab foam covered in plastic canvas, stiff felt, batting, and fabric, with black acrylic paint tips. The tail is 2" slab foam covered in metal mesh, stiff felt, batting, and fabric. All three items are now entirely handsewn (instead of FabriTac'ed), so no ugly discoloration. All the beads also got a touch-up, since the paint was starting to wear down from being packed and shoved around so much.

Note: This costume is really, really officially retired from competition now. You'll still see it in the halls, though. :)
Views 3646
Last Updated 12 years ago
Created 13 years ago
Series Pokémon
Character Pikabethan (Pikachu)
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