Monday, February 9, 2015

Cosplay Overview: Sephiroth, from Final Fantasy Dissidia

Sephiroth was my first cosplay ever (back in the mesozoic era), and I decided to make a new version of him in 2014.
The Dissidia design for Sephiroth is beautiful; he retains his imposing silhouette, but his entire costume has been embellished with some beautiful details.

This is a long one; exhaustive steps on how I made his costume are after the jump.

The Costume:

Sephiroth wears his trademark long black coat, with silver pauldrons on his shoulders.  He wears black pants with tall (thigh high!) boots, a SOLDIER emblem belt around his waist and black leather suspenders across his chest.
His Dissidia costume includes a gradient dyed cape that sits under his coat, bracelets embellished with long bead strands and an additional decorative belt that sits around his waist.
My goal was to make this costume for Connecticon 2014.

Costume Construction:

Sephiroth's coat was relatively straightforward to sew.  I used a black pleather material and the women's coat pattern from Simplicity Pattern 2581.

Lots of black pleather; use tape to avoid poking holes with pins.

The upper font of the coat was modified to be more open, the collar was changed and heightened and the lower front of the coat was cut into an angle to give it the correct shape.  The most difficult part of the coat was top stitching the pleather; my sewing machine's foot would stick to the material no matter what I did or what foot I used.  Thin strips of of wax paper placed over the seams prevented the sticking.  Keep in mind it can take a while to remove the bits of wax paper that get stuck in the steams, so be patient!

His belt and suspenders were made by sewing more pleather; the SOLDIER emblem was carefully top stitched onto the pleather to give it the correct texture.

The cape he wears under his coat was hand dyed; first, yellow, then the purple.  A trim of black feathers was sewn to the bottom.  The cape attaches to my SOLDIER belt underneath the coat.
The cape, after being dyed.

Sephiroth's armor was primarily created from Worbla (a thermoplastic available from  I created a mold from paper mache formed over a balloon, and shaped the worbla with a heat gun.
Worbla being shaped.  A wig head happens to have multiple uses.

Gesso and Mod Podge were used to smooth out the pauldrons and prepare them for painting.  They were sanded after being coated.
The pauldrons with a layer or two of gesso.

The designs on the pauldrons were made from leather cord I soaked in glue and applied to the armor once it was shaped. Once painted, I used scrapbooking stickers to mimic the look of the Materia embedded in his armor. Additional details were added with craft foam.

The pauldrons with their first coat of paint.

His belt's front piece was cut out of sintra, a type of expanded PVC sheeting.  The details were painted on with dimensional paint.  Beads and chain were added as needed.  The wing charm was created out of Instamorph.
The decorative belt, in progress.

I purchased metal bracelets that resembled his, and strung up beads onto chain and wire.
The easiest step!

As Sephiroth wears very tall boots, I sewed two boot covers to sit over the boots I was going to wear with the costume.  The seam between the cover and the actual boot is hidden underneath the lower buckle strap.  The covers close with velcro in the back, and also velcro to the boots for stability.

Sephiroth's wig was styled by using Got 2B glued hairspray and brushing his bangs upward.  Three wig clips were sewn into the wig to stabilize the wig and prevent it from sliding backwards off of my head.  The wig was very long; I would stop every hour or so and brush it to prevent nasty tangles.

For his eyes, I wore EOS Dolly Eye green contact lenses.  (Please consult your eye doctor before wearing any type of contact lens, whether you need a prescription or not.)  The lenses were very comfortable and were a vibrant, eerie green.

To create the illusion of Sephiroth's chest,  I used sports tape to carefully bind to the sides. Some light contouring and eye shadow added to his ethereal, androgynous look.

The final result looked like this:

Photo by Vicious Victor's Photography.
It was an exciting experience to revisit my first costume and build it again, this time from the ground up. It helped me realize how much I had learned over a decade of cosplaying and how to apply those skills. Sephiroth is a great character who is met by enthusiastic fans at any convention, and donning his black coat and massive sword can certainly be an adrenaline rush.
Despite the July heat of Connecticon 2014, I had a wonderful time stepping into the persona of the legendary One Winged Angel.

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