[Charlotte in cloak]
charlotte elbourne
vampire hunter d 2000

status: Finished -- links to photos below

worn: By me, at A-Kon 2001

how it was made: I was reading "Animerica" and discovered this dress in their section on the new Vampire Hunter D movie, and then found the pictures you see on the Web. I've sewn corsets before, and I designed this dress to have three parts -- shirt, skirt, corset-bodice -- all covered with gauze. The cloak is a cheapish velvet, with a padded wire framework for the shoulders.

The corset worked out fairly well, except for an annoying tendency to poke straight out at the hips 'cause I made the bottom part a bit too big. I ran out of the gauzy fabric so I didn't have enough to do an entire shirt. So I did the sleeves and the bits you see over the top of the corset, sewed it to a shirt made of another fabric, and sewed the whole shebang to the corset so it wouldn't pull out. The gauzy fabric -- well, that's another story entirely. I couldn't find any in a neutral color, so I ended up buying a bolt of acid-yellow and running it through both bleach and color-removal stuff several times, then since it was still a (paler) yellow, I dyed it purple to counteract the yellow, then did the color-removal one last time, and it came out a perfect beige.

I only wish I had some better pictures. The pictures you're seeing are the ones I'm working from. I also wish I had a picture of another dress she wears -- you can see it for an instant in the Vampire Hunter D 2000 trailer online, and it seems to have a train and a bustle. I've done bustle dresses before -- I can do it, they look good on me. If only I had a clue as to what the rest of it looked like ... oh well, there's always A-Kon 2002, hm?

[Charlotte character design]

When looking at the photo links below, the astute among you will notice I'm not exactly the same size as the chick in the drawings above. Setting aside the obvious fact that nobody looks like anime characters, this illustrates one of my axioms of costuming: anyone can costume as long as you look for something that you can adapt to your body shape and that looks good on you. You may not be able to cosplay as your favorite character, but at least people will stop you to compliment the costume.

I have seen way too many cosplayers who haven't taken the time to sit down, take a good look at their shape, and see how to adjust the pattern to fit - both larger *and* smaller. Make the skirt a little longer or shorter, try a different pleating method, fake the waist a little higher to lengthen legs, take the waist in, put in shoulder pads (that's a big peeve for me, especially for Nicholas D. Wolfwood and Spike Spiegel costumes - these guys have *huge* shoulders, folks! Shoulder pads! Nip in the waist!), buy or make a costume element larger than usual and tailor it down ... the list goes on.

5/29/2001 Pictures in progress:

  • The dress, so far. The bottom hasn't been chopped off and hemmed yet, so it looks weird.
  • The bodice, so far. I ought to tack the upper-arm band to the undersleeve to make the top portion pouf out a little more and to shorten the oversleeve a bit, but if I don't have time, then I don't have time.

    Final dress:

  • Final version. I didn't manage to get any pictures of me without the cloak on (sigh), but here ya go anyway.
  • Closer view of bodice. Man, I'm slumping something awful.
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